Obstacles and Opportunities in the Red Sea of Transition (Ex. 14)


This is the message I brought to New Garden Friends Meeting on August 30th, 2015.

I hope, in the time that we have together, to begin to open up a terrain for all of us in the face of three critical transitions that this NGFM is facing:

  • The pastoral transition of Margaret Webb and family
  • The leadership transition of Max Carter from Friends Center director
  • The community transition in the fact that you’ve been expelled from your Yearly Meeting.

I want to approach this topic of transition by looking at the Exodus 14 and the Hebrew people’s Flight from Egypt and crossing over the Red Sea.

I see the Hebrews’ crossing the Red Sea as a metaphor for what it means for the people of God to face the tragic reality of what it means to remain faithful in the face of change.

Or another way to put this is:

The Red Sea signifies a deeply transformative experience for those who pass through and learn how to embrace change as an opening, rather than an obstacle, for growth.

In moments of great transition and change, such as you are facing, there is no guarantee that we will learn, and grow from these events. For some, what you face may become an obstacle to growth, but in our desire to pursue wholeness, let’s commit to seeing all of these things as openings or opportunities for greater depth of presence, prayer, and commitment to communal listening.

Sermons The Biblical

The Ten Words of Love (Exodus 20)

This is the sermon I gave at Camas Friends Church on October 2, 2011 about the ten commandments.

[First I asked some questions about people’s interactions with the ten commandments and we had a good time of sharing out of that. Then I shared a number of ten commandment-styled lists, such as the ten commandments of facebook.]

The Ten Commandments and Today

Given these lists it seems like the 10 commandments are both a popular thing, but that maybe we have come to a place where they are mostly gone from our collective memory, or they just don’t seem important to us anymore.

If there’s anything that can be said about Exodus 20 this morning it is that the giving of the divine law by YHWH directly to the people, notice that these 10 are the only portion of the law that YHWH delivers directly to the people, would have been something very grave, something rather traumatic. After all, as soon as God is done with the ten what do they ask Moses to do? They ask him to mediate for them because they are afraid they are going to die. It’s like, “on second thought maybe we don’t really want to know what God has to say in such a upclose and personal way!” These “traumatically imposed Divine Commandments” as one philosopher puts it, bore a great weight for the newly liberate people, but thousands of years later they seem to have very little weight or meaning for us.

Why is that?