How ruthless can you get, after all? How could anyone take the life of another, but especially that of an innocent child? How ironic that the children were to be thrown into the Nile, the river that provided life to the Egyptians would at the same time bring death to Israel?
I love learning more about the Old and New Testament. I have been in Sunday School and Stephen Ministry and singing in choir for a long time, but I do not pretend to know everything there is to know about the Bible. Genesis is a big book and reflects an incredible amount of the struggle and history of the Hebrew people...so I'm happy that Michael Mooty is leading us through the first Book. After all, I do not know much, but what I do know is that I want to learn as much as I can so I might let the Word of the Lord guide me in my spiritual journey.
Something Michael has preached about several times in the past few weeks is something I continue to observe in people who do not want to go to church, who do not want to hear about my Faith, who say they are such a sinner, they cannot attend church, because they don't like religion -- they say they are spiritual, not religious. Hmmm. When I hear that, it breaks my heart a little bit. I don't think you must go to church to be a child of God. In fact, I don't think you have to be a Christian to be a child of God. I believe that if your life reflects the kindness, the love for justice and the humility shown to us by the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, you are a redeemed and forgiven child of God.
After the sermon, we had communion, and our newly-returned-from-Sabbatical choir director, Michael Rintamaa played "Let My People Go" on the organ, in a simple way, in a humble way, but a solemn and meaningful way that bore its message into our hearts. One of the basses behind me started singing the chorus to it, very low so no one but the choir could hear him, and I couldn't help but smile, knowing that I was amongst people who feel as I do, that you don't have to thump on a Bible, scream from the altar, or preach hellfire and damnation to be a child of God. You don't have to downgrade others to make yourself worthy...sometimes all it takes is a thoughtful reflection of just how we use power when we have it, and how terrible that power can be in the wrong hands. Sometimes it just takes a song to bring that message back to me and make me right again. Not righteous, but right. Standing tall, smiling, grateful to be alive and to serve.
After communion, my choir sang, with our much beloved MR at the piano once again after a summer of sabbatical. We performed a a lovely bouncy staccato-y anthem called "Bound For the Kingdom" -- here are the words we sang:
"Come, thou fount of ev'ry blessing, tune my heart to sing thy grace. Streams of mercy never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise. I am bound for the kingdom, will you go to glory with me? Hallelujah, Praise the Lord! Here I raise my voice to heaven, hither by thy help I'm come. And I hope by thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home.
O to grace how great a debtor daily I'm constrained to be. Let thy grace, Lord, like a fetter, bind my wand'ring heart to thee."
As I prepare for the rest of my Sunday -- playing my ukulele gig at the Sayre Christian Village nursing home -- I want to leave you with a prayer we shared in worship today. I hope you find meaning in it, and I wish you all the happiness that comes with being nice, with looking others with an understanding heart, and I wish for a song that make your heart glad.
Holy Spirit, we humbly ask
that you come into our midst.
Share with us your wisdom,
Fill us with your song,
and sit here with us as we tell stories about
how we were tangled in the reeds
until you pulled us up onto the shores of your love.