The Red Sea (Revisited)
Good Friday reflections
It was called "the exodus."
An exit ramp leading from a dead-end street
to a freeway of sorts.
A nation of indentured brick makers,
bricklayers and pyramid polishers
(finally freed by a pharaoh guilty of infanticide)
packed up and headed east.
The Red Sea parted and the dust flew
as six million sandaled feet forward-marched.
A dry ocean floor became an interstate
to a promised land for which God's chosen
had waited for four hundred years.
"The exodus" is a timeless story of redemption.
But the events surrounding the Red Sea crossing
of an enclave of Hebrew slaves
does not comprise the whole story.
Yes, the Red Sea was a highway to Sinai.
It was a dry way to freedom.
But it isn't the only Red Sea
in which we see God at work.
Where is Paul Harvey when you need him?
The rest of the story is dying to be told.
It's a novel ending begging to be read.
And today is the day to do just that.
As Christ clung to life and stared at death
(hanging from two crossbeams
and between two thieves),
His blood trickled like tributaries
from ruptured arteries and veins.
The leaking red elixir of life
became a river of death
flowing downward from His writhing body
to the foot of His cross.
Because the crimson-stained ground
was soon saturated by the constant stream
(from a spotless sacrificial Lamb
Moses never imagined),
the blood pooled into a sea of red.
In that crimson tide of blood
we find a second Red Sea.
It stands between us
and God's promised redemption,
forgiveness, freedom, abundant life
and inner peace.
Until we cross this sea of red,
we are slaves to sin and selfish motives.
Until we get across it,
we are in bondage to self-destructive
behaviors and attitudes.
Yet this bloody barrier
gives us cause for pause.
Just as the people of God
contemplated their options
as they encountered the first sea of red,
so we must determine our course of action.
Will we step forward?
Or will we just stand there?
Will we advance? Or will we retreat?
In all honesty,
there are reasons to resist taking the plunge.
Doubt, pride, disbelief, feelings of unworthiness
and rationalized feelings of contentment
with the old life.
Unlike the original Red Sea crossing,
those who step into the crimson waves
will not find a dry sea bed on which to travel.
No mighty wind and miracle divide this time.
The decision to move forward will mean
total immersion and a process of dyeing.
Those who emerge on the other side of the sea
are red-stained but clothed
in the righteousness of Christ
As such they are certified as citizens
in the land of God's promise.
A land the Bible calls the Kingdom of God.
The Fellowship of Feet
Timeless principles passed down from the Upper Room
Before the traitor had taken off,
Jesus humbled Himself
before twelve pair of familiar feet.
Feet that had run with delight in His direction
when He had first nodded in theirs.
Feet that had walked with Him
for the better part of three years
on 'a long obedience in the same direction.'
Feet that had remained on a narrow path
far removed from a broader (more popular) road.
Feet that had stumbled on stones
thrown by critics who questioned
their determined allegiance to a carpenter-turned-rabbi.
Feet calloused by the number of times
they had squashed their doubts and trudged on in faith.
Feet that (ironically) still longed
to climb the rungs of self-importance
in hopes of landing on a pedestal of glory.
Feet smudged by the mud of daily compromise,
smelling of imperfect devotion.
Feet that would soon flee in fear
when the feet (and hands)
of their Righteous Friend
were nailed to a Roman cross.
Beautiful feet that (with the exception of one pair)
would in time climb the mountains of the earth,
finding their ultimate worth,
declaring the incredible good news that our God reigns!
It was these feet the Savior cradled with compassion
as He rinsed and toweled them dry.
It was this amazing act of undeserved humility
and unforgettable grace
that Jesus commanded His friends to emulate.
And to that end we lace up our shoes
and follow in His footsteps
in the shadow of His cross.