From today’s first reading, from the book of Exodus:
Pharaoh was already near when the children of Israel looked up
and saw that the Egyptians were on the march in pursuit of them.
In great fright they cried out to the LORD.
And they complained to Moses,
“Were there no burial places in Egypt
that you had to bring us out here to die in the desert?
Why did you do this to us?
Why did you bring us out of Egypt?
Did we not tell you this in Egypt, when we said,
‘Leave us alone. Let us serve the Egyptians’?
Far better for us to be the slaves of the Egyptians
than to die in the desert.”
But Moses answered the people,
“Fear not! Stand your ground,
and you will see the victory the LORD will win for you today.
These Egyptians whom you see today you will never see again.
The LORD himself will fight for you; you have only to keep still.”
As battles rages on in our political systems here in the US, and around the world, I think about how it often feels as though those in power have left us vulnerable. So vulnerable that we could easily die! Why not just stay where we were? Sometimes we think God has done this to us as well.
That’s the tricky bit about the faith journey – the pilgrimage, if you will – it involves two actions on our part. Trusting and then acting on that trust. When I was on Camino Santiago, and even as I prepared for it I was constantly engaged in the cycle of trusting and acting. The luxury of sitting on my sofa, smartphone in hand, tweeting away was not an option. There were some really hard days on the road, really hard ones in which I had to trust God and then get up and go.
I’m thinking about how the comfort of my couch has softened me. Like slavery in Egypt, as bad as it was, maybe it was “safer” and “more secure?” Like a rubber band stretched too tight after being left lying limp in a drawer, I felt something snap today. It stung, but I know that old rubber band isn’t going to hold anything together.
Perhaps these are the real fruits of the Camino, not some great insight at all, but the reminder, grounded in Scripture, that my complaining is not the answer. Trust God, get up, and go. Yes, I know the Scripture reads “keep still.” Perhaps that has more to do with the condition of our heart, often in the perpetual movements of worrying and griping.
Today, with a heart called to stillness, I must move forth. God will save, but will I choose to participate? Will you?