Let Go: Jochabed Style Exodus 2: 1-10

Profiles_in_CourageCourage shows up in health workers who put themselves in harm’s way to treat infectious disease. Courage shows up in persons who champion causes in the face of personal consequences. Courage shows up in a person who faces illness with more composure than I could imagine. Courage shows up in persons who honestly, but lovingly critique their own tradition. I could mention many you who are courageous in what you do. Thanks to God for the ways you are faithfully courageous in this Body.

We’re living in a day that requires persons of the church to move beyond letting our actions do the talking to becoming more courageously invested in what is needed for the living of these days. The day calls for “moral grandeur and spiritual audacity” says Rabbi Herschel. It requires willingness to courageously plunge headfirst into some unknowns.

The older we become the more conscious we are of missed opportunities. We think of how little it would have taken to move beyond business as usual. There were risks we weren’t willing to take for a variety of reasons. Please, don’t unfairly imagine how happiness was missed by seconds. Missed chances are simply chances to grow our courage for the next time.opportunity

Jochabed, the mother of Moses is thought of as a minor biblical character, yet she plays a major role in Hebrew history because of her courage. This profile of courage can be helpful as we think about implementing our HCI prescriptions. Great courage will be needed in the days ahead.

Pharaoh orders the killing of the male Hebrew infants. Jochabed, desperate to save her son, fashions a basket, daubs it with pitch, and puts the child in it. She takes him to the Nile and stands in the river with her feet in the mud and her face ravaged by grief. She gives the basket a bearing as her son is nudged into the current. Love gave her the courage to not love her child so much she couldn’t protect or save him. Pharaoh’s daughter finds the child and Jochabed is called to serve as his nurse. (go figure) In the moment we’ve freeze-framed, she doesn’t know that. In that moment, Jochabed is courageous, trusting what she loves most into a current she can’t control.

Leslie-Harris-JochebedOur desire to be in control comes naturally. Doing what Jochabed did doesn’t come natural. Those ancient Hebrew families who felt threatened at the prospect of male infants being slaughtered would have hunkered down. We hold to essentials, which are certain and jettison the extraneous in uncertain times. We say function over form; or change the structure, not the content. Jochabed exhibits a counter-intuitive wisdom: courageously letting go of the child she loved into the current of God’s hand in history.

Jesus looked for forms of faith that were counter-intuitive in his day. He admonished those who worshipped him, “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but those who do the will of my Father.” To those who projected too much onto him he said, “Why do you call me good? Only God is good.” Jesus said to Mary in the garden, who only wanted to feel his personal touch again, “Don’t hold on to me.” Saying this is not how you will know me. These are hints that suggest there are some faith practices according to Jesus that needs to be released.

Letting go of what we’ve loved most, trusting our future into God’s hands is a great image for this day. Jochabed can be our model, as we consider letting go of things we love and trusting something better is ahead.christos kurios

There’s no permutation of history in which Christ isn’t present. The eternal Word became flesh to tell us Christ is always present in each aspect of our human lives despite any degree of swirling circumstances. Christ is still Lord even if every Bible is lost. Christ is still Lord even if every church closes. Christ is still Lord even if last believer stops believing. God’s hand is still active both with and without the things we love most. We can trust Christ’s Spirit in this Body of Christ to show us the way into our future through his palpable and saving presence in our letting go.

We could all say amen to letting go those things that hold us back and say we look forward to our future and head to Sunday lunch. Business as usual gives a nod to nice thoughts heard in church on Sunday. I want to invite us to make personal this eternal truth to the circumstances of our lives and church. Today, let us be very specific: What do I need to let go so I can join God in reshaping First Church, Irving so the next generation and me will have a place that shines the light of the world into our world?hold lightly

This may mean holding lightly to some of our assumptions; so we can be set free from lesser matters we obsessively focus on each day. Let us not hold so tightly to faithless worry created by our need to protect something that may not need saving. Let us quit wearing ourselves out collecting resources to perpetuate activities we fear if they disappear we’ve failed.

All shall be well” Julian of Norwich could say, not because God “fixes” all things but because all things are God’s and God is alive and well. I invite my fellow Jochabeds with heavenly courage let go into the current what is precious but no longer needed. It will come back just as Moses ended up back in Jochabed’s arms. When it comes back, it may look differently, but this time we will hold it with new freedom that has less fear, which will produce a deeper joy. May God’s bless our letting go, so we may see our way into God’s appointed future for the sake of this church and community, which Christ loves as much, if not more than, we. Let go and Let Godlet-god

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