Greetings, St. John UCC and St. Philip’s UCC!
A new school year—a new program year—is just beginning, the sun is setting earlier, and the aroma of pumpkin spice is in the air. The season is shifting and fall is coming! Both churches have a lot of exciting things planned for the coming weeks!
This summer, during our regular Sunday morning worship, we worked our way through the highlights of the book of Genesis—from Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob, and through the end of Joseph’s epic story. This fall, we’ll continue by working our way through the highlights of the book of Exodus. The stories we heard from Genesis are the stories of the great patriarchs, the forbearers of our faith, and how they established a covenant with God. The story of the exodus, led by Moses, is the foundational story of our faith tradition, out of which everything else emerges.
The story of the exodus begins with God’s people—the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph—being oppressed and enslaved by Egypt’s Pharaoh. The story begins with the birth of Moses, a child born into a world that wanted him dead. The story begins with baby Moses being saved from death, and growing up to one day lead his entire nation of people to freedom.
But freedom from enslavement was really only the beginning. From freedom from oppression to wandering in the wilderness to learning to trust God and follow God’s ways (and endlessly oscillating between getting that right and wrong)—the Israelites were in for quite a journey. Their story is our story, it’s the story of our faith.
Some days we feel like we’re back under the thumb of whoever it is that can oppress us today. Other days we’re celebrating our freedom and the joy of life. Some days it seems like we’re lost in a wilderness we won’t ever escape. Other days we trust in God’s providence and grace, and somehow make it through. Every day, we get some of it right, and we mess up and get some of it wrong too.
This fall, as we head into a new season, a new programmatic year, may the story of the exodus ground us in hope in God’s steadfast love for us each and every day. Whether we’re oppressed, or we’re lost in the wilderness, or we’re getting a gold star for getting it right, or we’re repenting for whatever golden calf we’ve created—regardless, God’s steadfast love for us never wavers. May we trust in that foundational truth of our faith, this season, and always.
In great hope,