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“It takes 40 days to get the people out of Egypt, but it takes 40 years
to get Egypt out of the people.”
This sermon was uncharacteristically loaded with readings. We looked at five different texts within Exodus that summarized the story of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt. From these readings, we analyzed their context and beginnings, asked questions about the stories, and strived to develop practices from them. The story from Exodus is a story of people who were saved from famine, but put into slavery. They cry out and God hears them, Moses shares a meal with them (the Passover), and leads them out of Egypt, to where they wandered and eventually starved, again. Throughout this journey, the question the Israelites asked was, “Who are we?” They knew they were not Pharaoh's slaves; yet, they did not know who they were or how they were going to be, and could not separate from their previous identity as famished slaves. Moses could take his people out of Egypt to wander, but they still lived as if they were Egyptian.
Together, we pondered the question of what we personally needed to get out from, but also what we needed to get out of ourselves. The first step was naming the environment we needed to be out of and the things we were internally enslaved too. At Collective we often challenge each other to avoid defining against something, but in this story it was important we defined ourselves against our personal Egypt and enslavement, and surrendered to wandering so we may ask the question, “Who are we?” Wandering can be frightening. As humans, we primarily worry about not getting what we want or losing what we have, and wandering calls both of those fears to our attention. We must leave what we have when it is enslavement and suffering, but we do not get to know that leaving will bring us what we want. To practice combating this fear, we seek to cultivate trust. We wanted to inspire practices of surrendering control so that we may wander away from the things we are defined against, in order to discover who we truly are.
We are a misfit faith community that gathers in DeLand on Sundays at 5pm. Come as you are.
We value highly the metaphor of journey. We’re different people from different places and backgrounds, representing an intergenerational community, and we’ve traveled different paths. So, we agree not to make assumptions about the person across from us, next to us, or in conversation with us. We challenge ourselves to be sensitive, knowing this community includes a diverse group of people from life-long followers of Jesus, to people who are just now open to the idea that God might exist. We strive to avoid offense, ask good questions, articulate and explain our responses. We don’t assume fluency in bible, spirituality, or Church language, because we believe the message of Jesus is not for Christianity, but for humanity. So, we do everything in the spirit of love and grace.
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