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REREAD the big story

EXODUS 14:29-31 (Previous bedtime story: crossing the Red Sea! Characters: Pharaoh, Yahweh, Moses, Aaron, Israelites, the Wilderness

REVIEW the context

The story of the EXODUS captures the imagination! Scholars debate the specifics (the number of Israelites who fled Egypt and the path they took) but the scriptures are clear: God had done the unthinkable! He brought the god-king Pharaoh to his knees. He parted the Red Sea. And He set the Hebrews free and set them to path in the wilderness. Moses was their appointed leader but his leadership was soon questioned as the Israelite rations ran out and they were hungry.

REENTER through the 2nd story

a REIMAGINING of Exodus 16:1-16

Moses stood on a hilltop and looked down at the Hebrews below. It had been weeks since they left Egypt. And they had been on the move ever since. ‘Has it sunk in?’ he turned and asked his brother. ‘What do you mean?’ Aaron replied. Moses grabbed Aaron’s shoulders and kissed his forehead. ‘That you are free!’ Moses pointed. ‘Look! The cloud – it stops!’ Far ahead of the people, the Pillar of Cloud swirled up into the evening sky, and out of sight. A Pillar of Fire struck the ground in its place and filled the region with light. ‘Tell the people to make camp!’ Moses said heading down the hill.

The rams horn blew the call to set camp. But before Moses could find his own tent – he was swarmed by a mob of people. ‘What is the purpose of leading us out here to die?!’ a shouted at him. ‘Excuse me?’ Moses answered. The man threw an empty grain sack at Moses’ feet. ‘Look at this grain sack. Empty! Look at my bushels. Empty!’ Moses looked up. He was surrounded by blank stares and hungry eyes. Men, women, children, young and old stood before him – empty sacks, baskets, and bushels in hand. ‘God should have let us die in Egypt?!’ another shouted. ‘At least we had lamb’s stew – and bread – and food!’

The mob was on the brink of frenzy when Aaron rushed in. ‘I tried to warn you,’ he whispered to Moses. ‘My friends!’ Aaron shouted over the crowd, ‘We are free! Better to die free men – than as slaves, no?! Besides. God will surely provide?’ For a moment the crowd relented and Moses retreated to a quiet place to pray. There, in the dancing light of the Pillar of Fire, God met Moses and spoke: ‘I have heard the complaints of my people. And I will rain down bread in the morning – and meat in the evening – so they may eat. And when I do, you will realize that I am God, your God! Here is what my people must do…’

Moses returned to Aaron with God’s instructions. ‘Take no more than you need. Else the bread will sour. Eat your fill. But not in greed!’ Aaron gathered the leaders of the tribes of Israel. ‘You’ve complained against God. Not us!’ Aaron said to the people. ‘But now, the path is clear. Come near to God and He will show up, and once again save us!’ Suddenly, the Glory of God was before them in the wilderness. A flock of quail flew outside the Hebrew camp. The number of birds was beyond count. Everyone had their fill of meat. And in the morning a layer of wild-bread covered the ground. Everyone ate their fill. God had provided both meat and bread. And he continued to do so – day after day – night after night.

RETHINK in sacred sharing

Spend some time in sacred reflection, conversation, and listening. Use the following questions as a guide.

Q: Looking at the story – how uncertain do you think the Israelites felt about God, their life, and their future? Rate on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 = no certainty at all, 10 = full confidence).

Q: What has your past week been like? Q: In this moment, do you feel any uncertainty about your life, your faith, or your future? Rate on a scale of 1 to 10.

Q: What has caused your uncertainty? Name aloud.

Q: Where do you see God-in-Action despite your uncertainty?

Q: What does Jesus have to say about anxiety and fear?

Q: Where do you feel the Spirit leading you or your family in these times?

RECREATE in sacred play

Spend some time in sacred play recreating the Exodus scene! Use materials from within your home to recreate Egypt, the Red Sea, and the wilderness! Below are a list of props ideas, characters, costumes, and a general flow-of-the-story. Remember – play is spontaneous and child-led! Use the scriptures as a reference but let the children lead!

PROPS: Set up a room in your house that flows seamlessly from scene to scene. Use pillows as pyramids, blankets for the sea, carpets for the wilderness.

CHARACTERS: Pharaoh, Moses, Aaron, Miriam, the Israelites, God, the Red Sea, the Wilderness. COSTUMES: Use everyday clothing to outfit your characters (t-shirts strung on heads, bathrobes, walking sticks, pots and pans, etc!)

FLOW: Pharaoh released the Hebrews. Moses – and the Pillar of Cloud and Fire – led the Hebrews into the wilderness. Pharaoh trapped them at the Red Sea – but God showed up – and parted the sea. The Hebrews went into the wild and God provided manna and quail for food!

REMAKE in a sacred meal

It didn’t take long for the Hebrews to run out of food! Without a miracle they would have starved! But God showed up and rained down MANNA-BREAD (a doughy-flakey kind of bread) and QUAIL (think, tiny chickens!)

CHALLENGE: bake some bread from scratch! Your favourite bread! If you are brave – find a MANA-BREAD recipe online and give it a try! And when the bread is hot and ready – get out the butter, slather it on – and add the bread to your sacred Sunday meal!

RESPOND in sacred prayer

Spend some time in sacred prayer. Choose a quiet and reflective spot within your home. A place where you or your family feel most comfortable. Light a candle. This will be your Pillar of Fire! And if possible, sit in a way that every face can be seen.

God did not forget His people. He provided. As the candle burns, prayerfully speak aloud both your feelings of uncertainty and your feelings of trust.

‘I am uncertain about my future. But I trust that God will lead me.’

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