Posts Tagged ‘Us’


Today our church took us back to the Exodus (the service video if you wish to contemplate on what was shared there can be viewed here). Anyway, it is the start of a series on overcoming fear, which is pertinent within this moment and time when you are seeing the extremist fear reactions we are seeing. These types of reactions do open one up to being susceptible to conversion (radicalization) with the worst outcomes being seen this past week on Capitol Hill in the United States of America. This post is not about the service this morning, but rather using the story from the Hebrew Bible within some reflective and spiritual practices to aid one in understanding themselves in change.

The root though, is the discomfort and fear of the unknown. This is precepted by change, I encourage you to look at the U Theory diagram and see where you are in the process of the change our world is currently undergoing, or to simply hold onto this diagram (and explore it more through resources like Senge’s Presence), as well look at it now and become cursory familiar with the concepts, for it will flow into the next steps:

See the source image

Now we are going to take up a text that is illustrative of the struggle within change, that is Exodus 14:1-31 (The Message), we will be reading this 3 times, but there will be times of reflection between each reading. Take a moment and sit comfortably, as straight up as possible, close your eyes and take deep diaphragmic breaths. Counting up slowly to 10, then back down to 0, do this as many cycles as it takes for you to feel relaxed and disconnected from the cacophony of the household, social media, and world around you. Know that we are in the Exodus story of the Hebrew Bible (you may be familiar with it through such movies as the 10 Commandments, Prince of Egypt, even Veggie Tales). It is a time of slavery, when a person with a disability is called forth by God to go into Egypt and set the people free from an oppressive Empire of the Pharaoh, after many back and forths, 10 plagues, they are free and on the run. Much like a bully who has been confronted though or a leader not knowing when time is up, Pharaoh decides to pursue. The Israelites are now surrounded on two sides by mountains, to move forward is to drown in the Red Sea, and to go back is to either be slaughtered or once more into slavery depending on the ruler’s whimsy. Ever felt like this when a challenge of change arises? Or when a change of life is forced upon us either through enforced retirement? Health (mental or physical) crisis? Layoffs? Loss of life? Or Covid-19 restrictions to keep ourselves and neighbour safe? The fight-flight-freeze response, what emotions are driving this within ourselves? Sometimes we can pinpoint core or raw emotions (i.e. sadness, anger) but there is usually more at play. This is where we are in change as we enter the three hearing cycles and space for contemplation, have paper and pencil/pen/crayons/pencil crayons before you:

First Reading/hearing (if you’re in a household of more than one, take time to have someone read aloud, if not read aloud on your own or use a speaker phone or video call) Exodus 14:1-31, The Message:

1-2 God spoke to Moses: “Tell the Israelites to turn around and make camp at Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. Camp on the shore of the sea opposite Baal Zephon.

3-4 “Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are lost; they’re confused. The wilderness has closed in on them.’ Then I’ll make Pharaoh’s heart stubborn again and he’ll chase after them. And I’ll use Pharaoh and his army to put my Glory on display. Then the Egyptians will realize that I am God.”

And that’s what happened.

5-7 When the king of Egypt was told that the people were gone, he and his servants changed their minds. They said, “What have we done, letting Israel, our slave labor, go free?” So he had his chariots harnessed up and got his army together. He took six hundred of his best chariots, with the rest of the Egyptian chariots and their drivers coming along.

8-9 God made Pharaoh king of Egypt stubborn, determined to chase the Israelites as they walked out on him without even looking back. The Egyptians gave chase and caught up with them where they had made camp by the sea—all Pharaoh’s horse-drawn chariots and their riders, all his foot soldiers there at Pi Hahiroth opposite Baal Zephon.

10-12 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up and saw them—Egyptians! Coming at them!

They were totally afraid. They cried out in terror to God. They told Moses, “Weren’t the cemeteries large enough in Egypt so that you had to take us out here in the wilderness to die? What have you done to us, taking us out of Egypt? Back in Egypt didn’t we tell you this would happen? Didn’t we tell you, ‘Leave us alone here in Egypt—we’re better off as slaves in Egypt than as corpses in the wilderness.’”

13 Moses spoke to the people: “Don’t be afraid. Stand firm and watch God do his work of salvation for you today. Take a good look at the Egyptians today for you’re never going to see them again.

14 God will fight the battle for you.
    And you? You keep your mouths shut!”

15-16 God said to Moses: “Why cry out to me? Speak to the Israelites. Order them to get moving. Hold your staff high and stretch your hand out over the sea: Split the sea! The Israelites will walk through the sea on dry ground.

17-18 “Meanwhile I’ll make sure the Egyptians keep up their stubborn chase—I’ll use Pharaoh and his entire army, his chariots and horsemen, to put my Glory on display so that the Egyptians will realize that I am God.”

19-20 The angel of God that had been leading the camp of Israel now shifted and got behind them. And the Pillar of Cloud that had been in front also shifted to the rear. The Cloud was now between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel. The Cloud enshrouded one camp in darkness and flooded the other with light. The two camps didn’t come near each other all night.

21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea and God, with a terrific east wind all night long, made the sea go back. He made the sea dry ground. The seawaters split.

22-25 The Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground with the waters a wall to the right and to the left. The Egyptians came after them in full pursuit, every horse and chariot and driver of Pharaoh racing into the middle of the sea. It was now the morning watch. God looked down from the Pillar of Fire and Cloud on the Egyptian army and threw them into a panic. He clogged the wheels of their chariots; they were stuck in the mud.

The Egyptians said, “Run from Israel! God is fighting on their side and against Egypt!”

26 God said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea and the waters will come back over the Egyptians, over their chariots, over their horsemen.”

27-28 Moses stretched his hand out over the sea: As the day broke and the Egyptians were running, the sea returned to its place as before. God dumped the Egyptians in the middle of the sea. The waters returned, drowning the chariots and riders of Pharaoh’s army that had chased after Israel into the sea. Not one of them survived.

29-31 But the Israelites walked right through the middle of the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall to the right and to the left. God delivered Israel that day from the oppression of the Egyptians. And Israel looked at the Egyptian dead, washed up on the shore of the sea, and realized the tremendous power that God brought against the Egyptians. The people were in reverent awe before God and trusted in God and his servant Moses.

This is the time in the quiet, to feel what is bubbling up for you in this moment of change in your life, what emotions are raw and under the surface or at the boiling point? Take time to draw, scribble, colour, write out what you are feeling. Use the emotion wheel below then to find the emotions that come up, and see what others are connected to them, anything else to add to/discern about your feelings, once we know what our heart/soul song is, we can work forward:

Take the most present and precise emotion forward with you as you enter back into the story, taking a rotation count of deep diaphragmic breaths counting up to 10, then back down to 0 as you are an Israelite in the moment on the shore.

This is the moment in time we are in, on the banks wondering what is going to happen? Where will we be? Are we ready to step forward? As the Red Sea parts, and it becomes like an aquarium for the lie thriving within, you have a choice to step into the passage, stay on the shore, or turn back to Egypt (what is known). Reading/Hearing #2 Exodus 14:1-31 the Message:

As you slowly come out with the emotion you took with you, reflect on the U Theory and where you are within it at this point and time in your personal story.

See the source image

Take time to reflect and write-draw-scribble-colour why you are where you are on the U? What is holding you there? What past story is holding you in place, what story will move you forward? Is there a new emotion present you would like to take with you into the third hearing?

As we prepare for the final hearing/reading, take a moment to re-centre yourself. Take the deep diaphragmic breathing count up to 10, then back down to 0. This time take into the story where you are on the U, what you are feeling. As you hear the third hearing, focus on the collapsing waters on the old way, the washing out of the pursuers, that which calls you back to “how it has always been done”, or puts qualifiers on love of neighbour. As we enter:

Third reading/hearing Exodus 14:1-31 as the waters crash behind you as you fearlessly take the step into the unknown…what is being washed away?

Take a moment to draw and write these out. This is what is holding you back now, take a moment to reflect on these “guardians” that have carried you through your life to this point. Honestly thank them, then destroy them as a moment of release.

For crossing through the Red Sea, is about releasing that which enslaved. Now the question arises, what is the below and above surface work you need to accomplish to be in the Promised Land? For it is about the journey….