As Pharaoh drew near, the Israelites looked back, and there were the Egyptians advancing on them. In great fear the Israelites cried out to the Lord. They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us, bringing us out of Egypt? Is this not the very thing we told you in Egypt, ‘Let us alone and let us serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” But Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the Lord will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to keep still.”
Exodus 14:10-14 (NRSV)
Israel’s liberation from Pharoah takes perhaps its most dramatic turn in this Sunday’s readings. Pharoah again broke faith and decided to pursue the departing Israelites, chasing them up to the impassible banks of the Red Sea. There would be nowhere to flee. Moses, however, kept faith in the God who had brought him from the Nile to Midian to Pharoah and now to freedom: God would make a way. They would not be killed or captured by the Egyptians after making it this far.
This story has resonated with the oppressed of the world through the ages. Even the mightiest empire the world had seen could not stand in the way of God’s liberating love. Let this rereading and rehearing be a reminder of God’s prerogatives among the most vulnerable in our world.
It is also true that this story can bring comfort to each of us fighting our daily battles no matter how small they may seem to the outside. There is internal liberation and freedom possible for each of us in trusting in God’s delivering power. Moses’s reminder to us is to trust and keep still, centered in our hearts, and present to God.
As the popular praise song “Do It Again” from a few years back reminds us, “You made a way/where there was no way/and I believe/You’re gonna do it again.”
Help us, Lord, to believe and hope like Moses today.
Grace and Peace,
Ask And Ye Shall Receive…
Thank you to the two soon-to-be-announced future members of the church’s Leadership Council. I am filled with hope by the people God is bringing together to help focus our time, energy, and effort to have the most impact possible here in Flemington and beyond. In the next eight days, I’d like to find two more people to serve. We are in need of a person to serve as “Nurture Chair,” the person who connects people with the work of the Ministry with Members, small group studies, and more; we are also in need of a Recording Secretary to take excellent minutes of all meetings. If you feel you have these gifts, please contact Pastor Ben. If you think Pastor Ben knows you have these gifts, don’t be surprised when the call or e-mail comes.
Two Additional Votes at Church Conference This Year
Our Church Conference will be held over Zoom this year on September 30 at 7:00pm. A link will be shared closer to the date so you can join in and participate. We have two additional items to vote on:
First, a vote to give thanks for the life of Paul Huffman and to receive his unrestricted bequest of 1.5 million dollars to be managed alongside the church’s existing funds with Evesham Capital.
Second, a move to further our missional effectiveness by combining our existing board structure into a single Leadership Council. Pastor Ben will hold a presentation on what this looks like for the curious after worship Sunday, September 20. If you have questions ahead of time please reply to this message.
Next In-Person Courageous Conversation on Race and Racism Scheduled For this Sunday, September 13th
Thank you to those who participated over Zoom last week. We will take some time to turn over the insights from the 5th and 6th chapters of Jim Wallis’s book “America’s Original Sin” while also learning from Beverly D’Angelo in a video which connects to these concepts and ideas.
New Study For Fall and Advent
Richard Rohr’s “Falling Upward” is a reflection on the surprising way our deepening faith and expanded religious practice begin to take place later in life in many cases. While we often focus so much attention on building a perfect life with healthy relationships and productive work in our 20s and 30s, its only in our 40s and 50s and beyond that many seem prepared to ask the big questions of this life we thought we had figured out. If you’d like to participate, please let Pastor Ben know. This is a slightly different small group opportunity for a slightly different Fall and Advent.
Worship with Flemington UMC on Facebook
Each Sunday at 10:30am, reach for your phone, tablet, computer, or other internet-connected device for a time of music, prayer, scripture, and preaching. Watching live gives the opportunity to comment in real-time with prayer requests, updates on your life, and more, but if you view the service later you can still comment and share prayer requests and experiences from your life with your church.
If you don’t have a Facebook account, you can simply visit the church’s Facebook page:
The videos are all accessible there without the need to create an account or login. If you have technical questions, please reach out.