Dear Gather Family,
As our Exodus adventure unfolds, we see how incredible events that defy “natural order” reveal a higher purpose. The flaming bush that doesn’t burn out attests to a God who does not destroy what God creates. And now, in this week’s discussion, we get the first nine plagues that begin rather comically as a showdown. Then, as the attacks intensify, Pharaoh’s magicians lose their mojo. The conflict is not, as first seems, between religious or even political ideologies. It is a battle of wills: Pharaoh’s willfulness and God’s uncontestable intention. In between rests a community of people drawn into harder labor with steadily reduced rights and dwindling power to embrace their identities as children of Israel (which means, “wrestle with God”) and Hebrews (“outsiders”).
The problem is bigger than enslavement. As divinely directed, Moses insists God’s people must be at liberty to leave Egypt, where they can worship God according to their own convictions. The prophet is very clear: this move is for everyone in the community. No one is left behind. No one is rejected. Not even the livestock are allowed to remain in captivity. If you’re an outsider—a wrestler with God—it is per divine edict that you’re free to worship God safely and with meaning. (In chapter 12, we’ll learn the Exodus also included a “diverse crowd” that extended beyond the Israelite slaves. So, as always happens, freedom drew others into community.)
The plagues portend something far more dangerous than ecological disasters. Any time people oppress a band of scrappy outsiders, the strategy inevitably backfires. The border patrol inevitably hems itself in. “How long will this man trap us?” Pharaoh’s leaders ask (Ex. 10:7). It is from this example we learn the right side of history always supports crossing boundaries, opening space, and embracing freedom for all. The right side of history is always transgressive in powerful, world-altering ways.
Make sure you join us this Thursday at 7:30 CDT as we look at confrontations with Pharaoh through the lens of God’s overarching intention: freedom and worship in inclusive, diverse community.
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Meeting ID: 824 2401 2625
Or dial 1-312-626-6799 using the same meeting ID.
Peace and blessings,
We need your help!
As we think about the future of Gather, please let us know what gifts you bring and would like to share with the community. There are many roles that have to come together to make Gather happen every week. This includes setup, technical support, worship, managing handouts and information, coordinating drinks, and teardown. We need your help. Please let us know what type of service you’d be interested in!
Watch God Work,
Tim & Shea
As we prepare to become a vibrant worshipping community, we invite you to enjoy a Spotify playlist that captures the kind of worship we hope to embrace. Give it a spin while you’re driving. Make it your workout jam. Add it to your devotional time. Most of all, feel yourself becoming part of a sacred village of believers who love their God and one another!
Check out the Gather Worship Playlist here.