The Bible is full of movement. There is the great big movement of God’s creation, or the more discreet movement of the Holy Spirit in the lives of individuals and communities. There are countless movements of faith throughout the Biblical record which result in so many stories of grace.
One of my favorite “movement stories” is the Exodus story, where the people of Israel leave the slavery of Egypt via the Red Sea. The Hebrew Scriptures tell us that Moses parted the Red Sea with his staff, and that the people were then able to walk out of Egypt on dry land.
There is a type of Rabbinic Scripture study called a “midrash”. Midrash is a way of interpreting biblical stories that fills in some of the gaps in the story through a process of imagination and creative study. So here’s a midrash about this particular movement…
Moses raised his staff, but the sea did not immediately part. The Israelites stood on the shore, with the Egyptian army fast approaching. Terrified, they cried out to God and to Moses. And what does God say? God says, “Tell the people to travel.”
In other words, God says, Get moving! Take action! Go! And again, the Midrash suggests…
One man, Nachson, understands… and he wades into the water, first to his ankles, then to his knees, then up to his waist, his shoulders, his chin…right up to his nose. And just when he thought he would drown, the waters part and the all the people pass over to freedom!
I love this little Midrash because of its obvious implication and suggestion for our church today. Sometimes it just takes one person to risk stepping into the water in order for the movement of grace to be realized. Sometimes that first brave soul may not even know how or where or if they will come out on the other side of the waters. But surely God is still calling us to travel. And we might never know the movement of grace until we get our feet a little wet.