The Readings: Exodus 15:1-21; 1 Peter 1:13-25; John 14:18-31
It is one of the oldest human stories: our God defeats chaos and death, wins sovereignty, creates a stable world in which we can thrive. Israel’s neighbors in the east, the Babylonians, had it in the epic “When on high” (Enuma Elish); to the north there was the cycle of Baal poems. Israel celebrated its occurrence in their history at the Red Sea, the oldest version of that celebration being today’s reading from Exodus. Whatever the threat, we need not fear. The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.
Peter picks up the Passover/exodus/wilderness imagery addressing those ransomed “with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish.” “…love one another deeply from the heart.” A seamless transition from celebrating God’s generosity to a corresponding generosity on our part. These days, maintaining the social distancing recommended by our physicians. (“There may come a time when recovery lies in the hands of physicians, for they too pray to the Lord that he grant them success in diagnosis and in healing, for the sake of preserving life. He who sins against his Maker, will be defiant toward the physician” [Sirach 38:13-15].) These days, at least remembering those whose fate has been pushed off the front page, e.g., the some 40,000 held in our immigrant detention centers (Amnesty International).
We have passed through the Red Sea / across the Atlantic / over the Rio Grande. Now what?