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Speaking to the Soul: Moses’ Big Sister

Speaking to the Soul: Moses’ Big Sister

Week of 4 Lent, Year Two

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:

Psalms 102 (morning) // 107:1-32 (evening)

Exodus 2:1-22

1 Corinthians 12:27-13:3

Mark 9:2-13

My little brother was born when I was about three-and-a-half years old. I don’t remember many details, but I do remember adoring him. Perhaps that’s why I’m drawn to the big sister in today’s first reading. Her baby brother Moses was born in a dangerous time, when people were instructed to kill the male infants of all Hebrew mothers. When Moses is born, his mother manages to hide him for three months, but finally she has to tuck him into a carefully-made basket, place him on a riverbank, and hope that he will be saved.

Although three-month-old Moses seems to be abandoned, he is not alone: “His sister stood at a distance, to see what would happen to him.” I imagine this girl watching and wondering and worrying over her little brother.

When the moment is right, this big sister springs into action. Pharaoh’s daughter finds the baby in the basket; the Scripture tells us that “He was crying, and she took pity on him.” Moses’s sister sees this pity, and she immediately asks Pharaoh’s daughter whether she needs help finding a wet nurse for the child. Then, the big sister brings none other than Moses’s birth mother to continue nursing the child until she has to give him up again.

This story has many very painful moments: birth in a time of genocide, an infant hidden for his own survival, abandonment, and a baby crying . . . helpless and alone. His big sister sees all of these things and strategizes to help as best she can. How might it feel to imagine God’s loving attention like that of a faithful big sister today? Watching over us when we feel abandoned, stepping into our lives through faithful and courageous people? The love of a big sister may not protect us from all the hostile circumstances we face, but we could be shielded and nurtured just enough to take this world on ourselves.

Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as Priest Associate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and assists with education, young adult ministry, and campus ministry at St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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