S (Scripture): Exodus 12:1 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, 2 “This month will be the first month; it will be the first month of the year for you. 3 Tell the whole Israelite community…
O (Observation): Notice where I cut off the text? I didn’t even get to what God was instructing the people to prepare for and to do. Why? To highlight the importance of this: God establishes commands and ritual for God’s people…for the sake of the world.
God was about to establish the Passover, a ritual that would be a way to establish a remembrance of God’s activity in the world.
As God’s people enacted this ritual, they were given hope for a new day. They were given a way forward when all hope was lost. This newly established ritual would encourage God’s people to always remember that day!
God would lead God’s people into freedom. And all would know that God makes good on God’s promises to be with those who need God the most.
A (Application): In the wake of the Middle Tennessee Tornadoes on Tuesday, March 3, at 12:45am est, we started to hear of the devastation – including the deaths of 25 people – across areas of Middle Tennessee, including Nashville, Mt. Juliet, and Cookeville (and the surrounding Putnam County area).
Talk about a need for folks to see hope.
My prayer is that as the people rally around to support those in need, they see the face of God in one another.
I know we will see ritual as a way to be reminded that God is with us, even in the wake of this natural disaster.
The people of Middle Tennessee will be supported and we will carry one another through the pain and suffering, with an eye towards the future. A hope that will envelope us. A hope that will guide us into a day. A hope that will bring us together.
And maybe one day, through ritual, through worship, we might look back on these days ahead, and see God’s hands and feet at work through all of those who will volunteer and donate funds to the recovery efforts forthcoming.
May you be at peace, people of Middle Tennessee. We will grieve with you. We will walk with you. We will mark these days as holy moments in the midst of devastation.
And we will see the face of God in one another.
P (Prayer): Lord, give us the strength we need to come together, to bear one another’s burdens, to share hope. Amen.
St. John’s Lutheran Church, Nashville (before and after)