Psalm 114 is a praise song of remembrance to be sung at Passover. Passover itself is a festival of lived remembrance, embodied for several days. This holy day is memory experienced through careful preparation, story, song, prayer, blessing, feast table, and children.
Today’s psalm sings the story of freedom gifted through miracles, presence, and power of a promise-keeping God. Eight short verses cannot depict every detail of the freedom story. Scrolls, chapters, and books overflow with portrayals of fear and faith, shameful and shining moments, years and yearnings—all significant pieces in the liberation journey of the Israelites. But this song offers powerful images that dive deep into individual and communal history. These images enliven the pieces of the story that repair a people’s ability to believe, to step forward with strength and faith, and to look beyond the particularities of their sometimes anguishing circumstances with hope.
This idea of sea, river, mountain—the immovable, the impassable, the impossible—giving way, making way, becoming the way serves time and time again. Thousands of years after this story, Israel’s descendants needed this memory in the face of Nazi genocide campaigns and death camps.
This song of surviving the impossibility of enslavement and slaughter, of being in relationship with One who declares people “free at last, free at last” serves many. It touches in deep places the fervor and faith within African heritage people, within indigenous people, within diverse marginalized people. The history of surviving repairs the vision of the world, the vision of ourselves so that it sings in old spirituals, in freedom songs, in liberation theology, in justice movements. It sings, repairing us and all creation in big and small ways.
Promise-keeping God, may your freeing spirit sing in our remembrance and in our day-to-day living. Amen.
Again this week, Exodus tells a story about Moses that is retold in the psalm. The angel of the Lord protects the Israelites and allows them to cross the sea on dry ground, but their enemies are swept away. The psalmist recalls this glorious event. The forces of nature tremble and bow before the presence of God, and the people are delivered. Paul recognizes that there are matters of personal preference or conscience that are not hard and fast rules. Some will feel freedom in areas that others do not, and we are not to judge each other for these differences. Jesus tells a parable in Matthew that highlights the danger of hypocrisy. We who have been forgiven so generously by God have no right to judge others for minor offenses.
Read Exodus 14:19-31. When has the path of faith seemed risky? How have you trusted God and others’ wisdom along the way?
Read Psalm 114. How do you listen and act to repair the story of God’s love for the whole world?
Read Romans 14:1-12. When have you recognized something as more important than your being right? How has that recognition shaped your faith?
Read Matthew 18:21-35. How do you recognize your own wounds—or those you have inflicted on others—in this parable? How might this parable help you to repair these wounds or the relationships attached to the wounds?
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