One of the central events in our Old Testament is the story of the Exodus. After God works through Moses to deliver the people of Israel from a Life of Slavery in Egypt, God begins to lead the people to a New Life in a New Land. Unfortunately, what could have been a two-week hike turns into a 40-year journey through the wilderness. The wilderness experience is one of the two central events in Jewish history (the other being the Babylonian Exile), and it profoundly shapes Jewish identity.
Journeys through the wilderness are part of human life. They may begin with the loss of a job, an unwanted diagnosis, the end of a relationship. You could view our current season in life as a journey through a wilderness. In March we left behind our familiar world and entered a season of wandering through uncharted territory.
When will we emerge from this wilderness? I don’t know. What I do know it that God is with us, even as we journey through the wildernesses of life.
Over the next five weeks, Pastor Laura and I will preach a series of sermons entitled “Thriving in the Wilderness.” Each week we will listen to one of the stories of the Jewish wilderness experience that we might learn how to “survive” and, maybe, even “thrive” amid the wildernesses of life. I begin the sermon series on Sunday by reflecting upon how God is with the Jewish people as they begin their wilderness journey.
As you prepare for worship this week, I invite you to:
- Read Exodus 13:17-22 in advance. Listen for how it speaks about God’s presence in the wildernesses of life.
- Read Psalm 23. Listen for how it connects with the theme of the Exodus story. Gillian has a beautiful arrangement of the psalm.
- Enjoy a wonderful variety of music that helps us to open our lives to God.