To the Jews, arriving at the sea of Reeds (The Red Sea), all of creation became a symphony, a song, because they, “in the blink of an eye” understood how every unrelated and incomprehensible event in their lives suddenly became a miraculously part of this harmonious music score, (otherwise known as “life”) that led up to that great miracle.” And how does this wonderful story relate to us and our own lives?
For one, the great miracle of splitting of the Red Sea is designed to help us make our escape from the Historical Egypt, and of course the ever-present spiritual meaning, to escape our individual Egypt… our own self-made prison of sins …
And consider what of the sustenance that God Himself provided for them in the desert…”Manna”… This is evident as they made it out of Egypt by the Power and Might of the Creator of the Universe. Ha Shem Himself, made the situation for the Egyptian Pharaohs intolerable and the Almighty, at the same time provided us sustenance from Heaven… from the very Hand of G-d. Our own plate of “manna” served on a warmed plate of Love.
Early in our ministry, Sharon and I were living in Jerusalem. I was going “on the road” for weeks at a time leaving my young, beautiful wife at home, and very much alone in Israel -pregnant with our son. Travel was not something I wanted to do, but it was part of my world – my inner heart wanting to beat loud and clear so that all could hear it.
While traveling, I noticed that all the homes and places I visited were like little worlds within themselves. The music that I brought from the Land meant so much to each of those families I visited and stayed with.
I wound up eating with them, sleeping in their bedrooms and sometimes they would give up their own beds for me…. I felt utterly welcomed, and I really did feel that I was actually part of their lives… … But when you’re there for a visit and are only there a short time, how does one reconcile realities? How do you blend other realities, other homes and other family lives with you own? After all, we become a sum total of all the moments and things we experience. They all go into making us the people we are. I’d like to illustrate this with a story: It was bitter cold in Finland during that winter. I was completing a three-week tour through Scandinavia. I stayed with a young family from the Church that I ministered in the previous night. They were so sweet. The parents of three toddlers, these young millennials had no guile in them. They insisted that I take their bed and they would sleep in the living room on the couch. Their three darlings went to sleep, and the Mom and Dad chatted with me until we all said “goodnight”… Just a sidebar here – the three toddlers didn’t know that I, (rather than their Daddy and Mommy) was in the master bedroom. The stillness of the house greeted me at about 4AM. Quiet blanketed the air with soft warmth, and the world smelled like honey. I stirred in the bed. I had subconsciously heard a noise, and it woke me up. Slowly and oh so carefully little Ida who had just turned 3 years old the day before, crept into the room… her mommy and daddy’s room.
A small hand with shaking little fingers reached out to me… She gently touched my arm and started speaking Finish to her dad, whom she thought was there. “Daddy, Daddy”… her little voice had urgency to it. “Daddy, Daddy… I’m not feeling well…. Daddy, I think I am going to get sick… And…. She did get sick, all over me. After all, she didn’t know I was there, and I really didn’t mind at all. You see, even though my world, my home, and reality was in Israel, I was now, a minuscule part of this Finish Family. It was a stop in my journey to one of those other “little lights”… those other worlds…. I wish I could paint a canvass showing you the Sea of Reeds splitting in two great funnel waves.
This is the great part of visiting other “ports-of-call. Whatever I had learned on these “music ministry trips, I would bring it home. And I would bring all that I was to the homes and cities and countries I had taken my music to. You would think all those different beds, bathrooms and abodes would challenge my mind and make it difficult to blend the visits with the realities of my home and family.
The following is a quote from the writings of Stone’s Chumash, one of the more prolific commentaries on the Torah. When I read this the first time I was on the road and not understanding why I had to leave my home, wife, and children so I could sing to others. But with prayer and time, I realized that I was born to live this life in this way… Part of my “purpose”, as it were. This “commentary” from the great book of Rabbinic wisdom made me compare my life to the many lives and places I had encountered while traveling. I understood that G-d had paralleled my life with the “children of Israel” – that G-d Himself had orchestrated all those trips and arranged specific encounters with people who were in need of this worship music. Could it be that my ministry to them could open “The Sea of Reeds” for them, as it had for Israel? Even though in all these homes, lives and realities where I found myself visiting, I had no right to enter their lives beyond the music. So their “realities” become quite heavy for me. I noticed things… perceptions about their lives that manifested into little pins of light polka-dotting the black universe and swirling about. I found, after I had read the quote below that I immediately understood the meaning and need for me to fulfill my purpose. In an instant the Lord revealed the Song of Moses as my song… and perhaps yours as well.
The story is in Exodus 14-28 through 15 and is actually called “The Song of Moses”.
“Rarely, very rarely, there is a moment in life where the gift of insights is given to us so that we might see “just a corner” of G-d’s Grace. It may be seldom but profoundly decrement and understanding come with this Holy Gift. With it, it makes people realize how all the pieces of the puzzle of their lives fall instantly and precisely into place. At such times, or at those times, we can understand how every note, every instrument, and participant in God’s symphony of creation plays its role. The result is life… song. For the Torah’s concept of song is the condition in which all the apparently unrelated and contradictory phenomena do indeed meld into a coherent, merciful, comprehensible whole. When the Jewish people crossed the sea of reeds, they were inundated with chaotic thoughts. The suffering of the Egyptian exile, the deception that led Pharaoh to pursue them, the hopelessness that they felt when they were surrounded by Pharaoh, the sea, and the wilderness; the demands from many of their own number, that they return to slavery. Even Moses’ old recrimination that his arrival in Egypt to carry out God’s mission had only made things worse for Israel. Such doubts and fears disappeared when the sea split, and as we can well imagine, even a simple maidservant at this sea perceived a higher degree of revelation than that of the prophet Ezekiel in his heavenly vision described in Ezekiel Ch.1. To the Jews at the sea, creation became a symphony, a song, because they understood how every unrelated and incomprehensible event was part of the harmonious score that led up to that great miracle.”
So often, I find myself in different realities. Little mini-worlds where there are families and churches, congregations – where there are people who have lives; real people with real problems and real joy with real tears; each one is rather like a small little universe within himself.
There are millions of these tiny little universes flying around, vivid in color and life. Sometimes they interact. Sometimes one will move into the path of another, and there will be a meeting of realities—some harmonious, some discordant. Sometimes lives will touch, and relationships will build—before going off into their own paths, leaving behind a memory or a piece of their light.
How many times have I entered into these small little worlds, always thinking, never forgetting about my own reality, my own little universe – my family, my house, my children, my dog, my fish, the turtle that we let go back into the wild.
How many times do I go into a home and wonder if it would be the same if it were my home and then I have to shake my head back into understanding that there are many notes in this song, many notes. Many chord structures, many phrases. Only a few songs.
The melody I sing today may not be the melody I sing tomorrow, but the reality is that it exists and that it has meaning within my own truth, even if it is only for a moment.
When we utter the words “let us sing a new song to the Lord” what do we really mean?
A new song is fine, but I think, for me, the melodies of my life remain in the solid understanding of the crossing of the sea of reeds experience, “that every unrelated and incomprehensible event was part of the harmonious score…”
I suppose we all go through our own crossings. We have faith that the Lord will bring us across, but do we trust Him enough to enter the water before it opens?
Faith and trust. Trust and faith. Can one live without the other?