Song of the Bride

Kristen Gunn

A Reading from Exodus 15:1-21

1 Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord:

“I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;
horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.
2 The Lord is my strength and my might,
and he has become my salvation;
this is my God, and I will praise him,
my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
3 The Lord is a warrior;
the Lord is his name.

4 “Pharaoh’s chariots and his army he cast into the sea;
his picked officers were sunk in the Red Sea.
5 The floods covered them;
they went down into the depths like a stone.
6 Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power —
your right hand, O Lord, shattered the enemy.
7 In the greatness of your majesty you overthrew your adversaries;
you sent out your fury, it consumed them like stubble.
8 At the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up,
the floods stood up in a heap;
the deeps congealed in the heart of the sea.
9 The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake,
I will divide the spoil, my desire shall have its fill of them.
I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.’
10 You blew with your wind, the sea covered them;
they sank like lead in the mighty waters.

11 “Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods?
Who is like you, majestic in holiness,
awesome in splendor, doing wonders?
12 You stretched out your right hand,
the earth swallowed them.

13 “In your steadfast love you led the people whom you redeemed;
you guided them by your strength to your holy abode.
14 The peoples heard, they trembled;
pangs seized the inhabitants of Philistia.
15 Then the chiefs of Edom were dismayed;
trembling seized the leaders of Moab;
all the inhabitants of Canaan melted away.
16 Terror and dread fell upon them;
by the might of your arm, they became still as a stone
until your people, O Lord, passed by,
until the people whom you acquired passed by.
17 You brought them in and planted them on the mountain of your own possession,
the place, O Lord, that you made your abode,
the sanctuary, O Lord, that your hands have established.
18 The Lord will reign forever and ever.”

19 When the horses of Pharaoh with his chariots and his chariot drivers went into the sea, the Lord brought back the waters of the sea upon them; but the Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground.

20 Then the prophet Miriam, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand; and all the women went out after her with tambourines and with dancing. 21 And Miriam sang to them:

“Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;
horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.”

Meditation

I used to struggle with the Resurrection. I believed that Jesus’ death did something — was an atoning sacrifice for sins, as was preached boldly in the tradition in which I grew up. But what was the point of the Resurrection? Was it necessary? Wasn’t it just icing on the cake, or an extra point scored in a football game Jesus would have won over sin and the devil anyway?

Two historic Christian insights have helped me to marvel at the Lord’s (and my own) resurrection more deeply. First, Christ’s death, resurrection, and ascension aren’t as neatly separable as I once thought. The “paschal mystery” Christians have spoken of for centuries refers to these in unity, as one saving event. Second, through God’s work on us in the sacraments, we are joined to Christ so that what happened in him now happens in us. “The saying is sure: if we have died with him, we will also live with him” (2 Tim. 2:11). With the promise given in Christ’s resurrection, then, even our own deaths become a mercy, because “whoever has died is freed from sin” (Rom. 6:7).

Thus when the early Christians read this passage in Exodus, they heard in it the song of Christ’s Bride, whose sins have now sunk forever to the “ocean floor,” as even some of our own contemporary Christian musicians have sung. The sin and death that once enslaved and chased us have met and will meet their final end in the water God uses to deliver us.

Let us who share in Christ’s life, then, add our own voices to the Bride’s song: “Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; horse and rider he has thrown into the sea” (15:1)!

Kristen Gunn is a student at Nashotah House Theological Seminary, where she is happily plucking away at an M.T.S. She has a B.A. in religion and linguistics, and loves dancing in the patristics section of the library when she thinks she is alone.

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Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer

Today we pray for:

The Diocese of Lagos West – The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)
The Diocese of Southern Ohio

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