“Nevertheless She Preached – Miriam” by The Rev. Stephanie Kendell

July 26th,2018 Categories: Stephanie Kendell Letters, Weekly Letter

Miriam by Artist Rachel Bishop

Beloved Church,

I hope you all took Pastor Kaji’s message last week to heart and found some time for sabbath. There is always so much to do but renewal is also a part of the act of seeking justice. Speaking of justice, we hope that you will join us this Thursday for the Deportee Suitcase March at 5:30 at Federal Plaza and use the hashtag #whatwouldyoupack to keep the conversation going around the awful ways people are being treated in this country.

This week we are kicking off a sermon series around women in the Bible who used their own lived experiences to preach the word of God. So often women in the bible are not the focus of the story, even if the story is about them, or if they are a key player. This week we are starting off with the prophet Miriam. Miriam is the sister of Moses and Aaron, and God spoke to and used Miriam during the Israelites’ exodus. This week’s scripture comes right after the parting of the seas, but before their trek into the wilderness. What do you notice about this part of Miriam’s story?

19 “Once Pharaoh’s horses, chariots and charioteers came into the seabed, YHWH let the water collapse back upon them. But the Israelites walked through the sea on dry land.

20 Then Aaron’s sister, the prophet Miriam, picked up a tambourine, and all the women, followed her, dancing, with tambourines, 21 while Miriam sang:
“Sing to YHWH
who has triumphed gloriously,
who has flung horse and rider
into the sea!”

Often, we take our cues of authority in relation to other people and Miriam’s story is no different. The writer of Exodus wants us the readers to understand Miriam’s authority as one that comes from being related to her brother, Aaron (Sorry Moses!). But the authority of the church does not come from our relationships to others, it comes from our relationship to God. Miriam is a Prophet, someone God leads through and it seems the Israelite women, know this because without a word, they follow Miriam.

Friends not only is this the Bible’s first sanctioned dance party, but this is church. With the water behind us and the wilderness in front of us, we are called to give thanks to a God who is faithful. Give love to a God who provides. Give joy to a God who places music on our hearts and friends in our community. This Sunday, I hope that we can recreate this message, and like the Israelite women who followed Miriam, pick up our tambourine’s as well.

Shalom Y’all.
Rev. Stephanie