This is a violent passage. Is it suitable for Easter? Is it suitable for baptism? Traditionally Easter Eve is a time for baptism.
We travel with Jesus through the waters of death to new life. We travel with the Israelites through the sea to freedom from the Egyptians.
One of the questions to ponder in light of this story is what we would like to leave behind in the water and in death. What difficulty or evil is pursuing us? What did we get rid of at baptism? What did Jesus loose in death? We might be like the Israelites, needing deliverance from those things that oppress us from outside ourselves. It is hard to imagine this without violence, even if the text emphasises stillness (v.14 charash = keep silent).
Jesus went the way of peace, he was silent. Following him means we need to think what oppresses us inside ourselves. When we go the road through the valley (or the waters) of death we trust God to go with us. What do we want to leave behind in death? What do we want to die to? I imagine the Israelites not only lost an army of Egyptian soldiers but they also lost some of their fear and their doubt and their lack of trust both in Moses and God when they sang with Miriam a song of deliverance. “Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously”. New life indeed.
23 April 2017
Exodus 14: 10-end; 15: 20-21