As we finished up rehearsing our Easter Cantata at church tonight (no, I do not sing; I have a part as a reader), my mind started to drift a little, and instead of thinking forward to Easter in a few days, my thoughts went backward many thousands of years, to another Nisan 15, when Israel hurriedly left Egypt and Pharoah behind them, following Moses and his assurances that God had heard their suffering and was rescuing them.
It's a full moon tonight, as it was then, and when I left church, I looked for it. Due to its location and my location, I couldn't see it as I drove towards my home, and that was a little disturbing to me; I had anticipated looking up at it, thinking back and wondering what it must have been like for the Israelites. I knew, though, that it was there somewhere, even if I could not see it. After I pulled into my driveway and parked and stepped out into the cold night, I saw it, in the East, shining bright and full. With one hand in my pocket and the other holding my chametz-laden cookie, thoughts popped in and out of my head one after another. Israel, with the blood on their doorposts, saving them. Israel, hurrying to leave, not knowing what lay ahead, but knowing God was there. My Jewish friends celebrating tonight with a Seder, recounting that very story, and living it themselves. Part of the Seder is to put oneself in the place of Israel at the time, experiencing that slavery and that freedom of deliverance.
There is much about the future that we do not know. We may plan and have our own ideas, but ultimately, it is all in God's hands, even when it seems as, like the moon tonight, He isn't there. But whatever we walk through, He will be there with us, guiding us, and waiting for us in the unknown future.
In Genesis 1:14-19, we read this:
14 And God said, "Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth." And it was so. 16 God made the two great lights-- the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night-- and the stars. 17 God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth, 18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
The moon that was present during creation, was present during Israel's flight from Egypt, is still present with us today, looking down at us, separating the light from the darkness. Sometimes, like tonight, it is full, and other times, only a tiny sliver. But it is there, a promise of light and hope in times of darkness.
May your week be filled with that light and hope, no matter how dark it seems.