Sermon: The Power of Stories
Scripture Reading: Exodus 4:27-31, Exodus 13:3-10
Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a festival to the Lord. Unleavened bread shall be eaten for seven days; no leavened bread shall be seen in your possession, and no leaven shall be seen among you in all your territory. You shall tell your child on that day, ‘It is because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.’ It shall serve for you as a sign on your hand and as a reminder on your forehead, so that the teaching of the Lord may be on your lips; for with a strong hand the Lord brought you out of Egypt. You shall keep this ordinance at its proper time from year to year. (Exodus 13:6-10)
Monday August 6 — Exodus 4:27-31
The call stories of Moses and Aaron (Exodus 3 & 4), concluded with a meeting of the entire “congregation” of the Israelites. There, Aaron shared the entire story (of God hearing the prayers of the Israelites, calling Moses and Aaron to lead the people, and performing signs and wonders), and as a result: “the people believed…and worshipped” (Exodus 4:31). This is what the Church does every week. We tell the stories of what God has done through Jesus – and we believe and we worship. Which stories of God’s deeds inspire you to believe and worship?
- Prayer: Amazing God, thank you for all that you have done in my life and in the world around me. Because of these wonders, I believe, and I worship you. Amen.
Tuesday August 7 — Exodus 6:2-13
For the second time in the Exodus story, God’s name was revealed to Moses. (See Exodus 3:13-22). In many English translations, God’s name is written as “The Lord” (all uppercase). This represents the Hebrew letters YHWH. In Hebrew tradition, God’s name was too holy to be spelled out, which is why “You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God” (Exodus 20:7) is one of the ten commandments. This was very important to the Israelites. Why might it be important for you?
- Prayer: O Lord my God, teach me your ways and transform my life. Keep your name holy in my heart and mind. Purify both my thoughts and my words today. Amen.
Wednesday August 8 — Exodus 7:1-13
The first part of Exodus 7 fulfills the promises God made to Moses. As instructed, Moses and Aaron go to Pharaoh and demand that he let God’s people “go out of his land” (see Exodus 7:2, and Exodus 7:6.) As promised, God was with them and empowered their ministry. With God’s help they performed signs and wonders in Pharaoh’s presence. No unlike Pharaoh, today’s world demands signs and wonders from followers of Jesus. Think about how your life (what you do and say) might be signs and wonders for people who are looking for God.
- Prayer: Almighty God, I know that the ultimate sign of your presence is a transformed human life. Use me to show your love to people who are desperately seeking you.
Thursday August 9 — Exodus 12:21-28
In response to Pharaoh’s hardened heart, Egypt experienced ten plagues on its land and its people. The conflict intensified as the plagues progressed, culminating with the Passover, which protected the Israelites from the final plague, the death of the firstborn children. This is such an important story that Moses commanded the Israelites to continue observing the Passover as part of their salvation history. As a Christian, what helps you remember your salvation story?
- Prayer: Gracious God, thank you for saving me from the power of sin and death by your love and grace. Teach me to live life that is worthy of my salvation. Amen.
Friday August 10 — Exodus 13:3-10
Biblically, the Passover commemorates Israel’s escape from the death of the firstborns, while the Festival of Unleavened Bread commemorates Israel’s exodus from Egypt (when they could not wait for bread to leaven). The primary purpose of these festivals is to remember what God has done. In the same way, we remember what God has done for us when we eat the bread and share the cup of Holy Communion. How does our Sacrament help you remember what God has done?
- Prayer: God of Love, thank you for the gift of your Son, Jesus, and for the Sacrament of Holy Communion. Help me to remember who I am – and whose I am.
Saturday August 11 — Exodus 14:10-22
The Israelites’ deliverance from the Egyptian army as they crossed the Red Sea is one of the most familiar stories in the Bible. The first thirteen chapters of Exodus have dramatically built up to this climactic event. But it is really just the beginning of the Israelites’ journey to the Promised Land. In the same way, being saved by grace through faith is just the beginning of our discipleship journey. Salvation is the beginning of abundant life with God – in this world, and the next.
- Prayer: God of Grace, help me trust in your gift of salvation and live an abundant life of faithful service as a disciple of Jesus – in this world and the next. Amen.