Which great Old-Testament image shows us what Easter means for us, for the Christians of the world? This event happened originally, many centuries before Christ, in order to show us what Christ’s Passover has accomplished for us…
Moses leading the Israelites through the Red Sea.
You don’t have to watch Charleton Heston’s “Ten Commandments” to perceive the intense drama of the moment. Wind blowing. Hapless Israelites lined up, a cavalcade of refugees, with Moses leading the column, staff in hand. As every second passes, the angry Egyptian charioteers gain ground.
And the Israelites do not have geography on their side. Trying to get to the Promised Land? Good luck! Ain’t no bridge over this here sea! We can imagine that desperate prayers and lamentations burbled anxiously on the lips of Moses and his followers at this moment.
But the Lord impatiently said to His prophet Moses, “Come on, man! Why are you crying out to me? Tell them to stride forward. Lift up your staff. I got you!”
Moses, to his credit, did not panic at this. He did not say, “You mean, we should march into the middle of all that water?”
If it were you or me, we might have said, “Look, Lord, I know You made the heavens and the earth, and blew the spirit of life into all the vigorous creatures of the cosmos. But that’s an awful lot of water out there, and I don’t know how to swim.”
Moses, however, said no such thing. He did not panic. “Adelante!” he said. “Vamonos! We are stepping into that ocean, people, for the glory of God Almighty!”
I said that all this happened in order to teach us what Easter means for us. What does that wide sea represent? The windswept water?
I think we can say that the Red Sea represents a uniquely opaque reality. An impenetrably dark reality. A reality of incomprehensible mystery, when it comes to what our churning little minds can grasp.
The sea represents: All that is yet to come. Every moment, subsequent to now. The future.
This could be our last Easter like this. An asteroid could land right here. Or: Our constitutional system of government could unravel completely. Or, on the other hand: Tomorrow, you or I could meet someone with something beautiful to say, that we have never heard before, and our lives could completely change. This spring could turn lovelier than any spring we’ve ever lived through, and the world could start to look different.
Who knows what’s coming down the pike? All we know about it is that we don’t know. The future is the wine-dark sea.
And what about the voice of the Lord, speaking to Moses? God Almighty saying, “Stop whining and stride forward! I will be glorified by getting you Israelites to the other side.”
He is saying to us: “Vayanse! Don’t tell me you can’t swim. Don’t tell me you’d rather have the leeks and melons and cucumbers you had when you served Satan as slaves. Don’t tell me that you’re not sure you can handle walking through a tunnel of water, miraculously suspended to the right and to the left, and teeming with whales and fish. Don’t talk, just walk. Don’t whine, just step forward in line. I got this. I am God, and I am telling you that I got this thing, the future. I got it. Don’t you worry about it.”
Now, the Egyptians never made it through the sea. What undid them? What does the Scripture say? The Egyptians ________ed, and their chariot wheels got mired in the mud. The Egyptians ________ed, and they sounded the retreat. And, next thing they knew, the dark sea washed over them and drowned them instantly. (panicked)
The Easter candle means this: Be not afraid. The only enemy that we really need to fear, Christ has conquered. Christ has conquered our only real foe.
Adelante, entonces! Forward. The future–unknown as it is, nebulous as it is, as choppy as a stormy sea as it may be: the light of Christ’s Passover candle will shine in it.