On Sunday, we will begin a new series on Exodus. It is based in large part on the lectionary readings for the fall. So, for the next seven weeks (after a small break over Labor Day with a guest preacher), we will be studying the story of Moses in great depth.
This weekend, we begin with the very earliest portions of Moses’ story: the enslavement of the Israelite people and slaughter of the Israelite children from chapters one and two. In the midst of this narrative, God’s resistance against those wreaking havoc and destruction arises from the most surprising of corners – the women.
Then again, perhaps it is not surprising at all. There is an oft told tale of the women being the ones that make churches function through their work behind the scenes (at least that was what I noticed down south for the last two decades and the history beyond).
A lesser known tale is that it was women who made the early church possible, as well. Not only did a woman preach the first sermon, as we learn in the gospels, but it was women of wealth from among the Roman and Jewish converts that largely allowed the church to function for the first several decades (and beyond). They were not held to the same standards of being required to worship in public (in either the Roman or Jewish religions) like their husbands or fathers. They were able to work behind the scenes: to provide places for the church to meet and to give the funding that helped the church survive infancy.
In the story of the Exodus, it is Israelite and Egyptian women who stand first against the tyrant ruling Egypt. The great prophet Moses learned to protect God’s people and follow God’s calling from his mother, his adopted mother, his sister. And we learn of God’s work also through the story of the midwives. They all put everything on the line, including their lives, to help one or hundreds of Israelite infants.
There is an old Jewish saying from the Talmud that “whoever saves one life, saves the world entire.”
If you are ever getting overwhelmed at the enormity of peoples’ needs in this world or what God is asking you to do in serving others – start with one person. God has called us to care for orphans and widows, foreigners and family, the hungry, thirsty, strangers, the naked, sick, imprisoned. And there is much work to be done. But God never said you had do everything all at once. That is why God has tapped all of us to help.
So do what you can, every day, to make someone’s world better. If all of us join in, the entire world will begin to shine with God’s light.
Blessings, Pastor Janie