Daily Dose, March 17 — Worship Life

  Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the LORD: “I will sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously; horse and rider he has thrown into the sea. The LORD is my strength and my might, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. The LORD is a warrior; the LORD is his name. “Pharaoh’s chariots and his army he cast into the sea; his picked officers were sunk in the Red Sea. The floods covered them; they went down into the depths like a stone. Your right hand, O LORD, glorious in power -- your right hand, O LORD, shattered the enemy. In the greatness of your majesty you overthrew your adversaries; you sent out your fury, it consumed them like stubble. At the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up, the floods stood up in a heap; the deeps congealed in the heart of the sea. The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil, my desire shall have its fill of them. I will draw my sword; my hand shall destroy them.” You blew with your wind, the sea covered them; they sank like lead in the mighty waters. “Who is like you, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in splendor, doing wonders? You stretched out your right hand, the earth swallowed them. “In your steadfast love you led the people whom you redeemed; you guided them by your strength to your holy abode. The peoples heard, they trembled; pangs seized the inhabitants of Philistia. Then the chiefs of Edom were dismayed; trembling seized the leaders of Moab; all the inhabitants of Canaan melted away. Terror and dread fell upon them; by the might of your arm, they became still as a stone until your people, O LORD, passed by, until the people whom you acquired passed by. You brought them in and planted them on the mountain of your own possession, the place, O LORD, that you made your abode, the sanctuary, O LORD, that your hands have established. The LORD will reign for ever and ever.” When the horses of Pharaoh with his chariots and his chariot drivers went into the sea, the LORD brought back the waters of the sea upon them; but the Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground. Then the prophet Miriam, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand; and all the women went out after her with tambourines and with dancing. And Miriam sang to them: “Sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously; horse and rider he has thrown into the sea." (Exodus 15:1-21)   I went to college at Florida State University (Go Noles!), and while there I had the privilege of being in the Marching Chiefs and being a part of a lot of really exciting football games. I’ll always remember several things that always happened immediately following a big win: We would play and sing the school’s fight song, we would play the familiar War Chant, and then we’d link arms and sing The Hymn to the Garnet and Gold. These things seemed to symbolize and demonstrate that these important moments included all of us and belonged to all of us, whether we were on the field in pads or not. Exodus 14 tells of a really important victory for the people of Israel, and Exodus 15 shows us the immediate response. Once God delivers Moses and the Israelites from the pursuing Egyptians, and what do Moses and the people do? They sing songs. They play instruments. They proclaim God’s hand in their deliverance. They remind one another of God’s faithfulness. They worship! I love the image in verses 20-21 of Miriam leading the worship for God’s people with tambourine in her hand and dancing in her feet. (Maybe this was the first iteration of contemporary worship.) Our worship continues to include many of the things that existed long ago. In our worship, we sing! This is nothing new. Remember that the entire book of Psalms in the Bible is really a book of songs. We pray -- sometimes silently, sometimes aloud, sometimes individually, sometimes collectively. As part of prayer, we listen -- because we believe that when we speak to God, God will answer. We open the Scriptures and read them. We remember that these divinely inspired words have pointed people to God for thousands of years, and we return to them still for guidance and instruction. Moses and Miriam led the people as they worshiped. They proclaimed God’s victory, and they realized that God’s victory included all of them and belonged to all of them. And it belongs to all of us. I’ll see you in worship! -- Rev. Brad Greene