Daily Devotion for March 12, 2013
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
A rare double video day, as we have two versions of Mary Don't You Weep. The first is a window into the distant past, a very old (1932) documentary of "The Georgia Field Hands".
Here is a more musical version by the great Mississippi John Hurt.
Oh Mary don't you weep, don't you moan (or mourn),
Oh Mary don't you weep, don't you moan,
Pharaoh's Army got drownded,
Oh Mary don't you weep.
Moses stood on the Red Sea shore
Smotin' the water with a two by four,
(at the end of every verse) Pharaoh's Army got drownded,
Oh Mary don't you weep.
The Lord told Moses what to do
To lead those Hebrew children through,
(Mississippi John Hurt adds the following verse:)
Sinners, don't come by the goin' home
No need to come when the train done gone,
God gave Noah the rainbow sign
No more water, but the fire next time,
Mary wore three links of chain
Every link was in freedom's name,
When I get to Heaven, gonna sing & shout
Nobody up there to put me out!
One of these mornings, it won't be long
You're gonna call my name but I'll be gone,
One of these days, about 12 o'clock
This old world's gonna reel & rock.
One of these days, in the middle of the night
People gonna rise up and set things right.
It was Moses, first proved the notion:
The world is safer with the army in the ocean.
(Georgia Field Hands version)
I done told you once, I done told you twice,
Settled in hell if you shoot the dice,
God made man and He made him out of clay,
Put him on earth but not to stay.
I done told you once, done told you twice,
Can't get to heaven with a sweetheart and a wife,
Prayer of Thanks for God's Creation
O Lord God of Israel and God of the nations, you are the only God in heaven above or the earth below. I walk before you with all my heart. I bless your name in the morning when I rise and in the evening when I sleep, and all the day when your creation fills my eye. Bless me to remember you this day. When I see and hear the thousand miracles of your creation, let me see them anew, recalling that you have made them, and no other; that I may live in your presence among the common miracles I take for granted. Through Christ I pray,
Lenten Prayer of Humility
Oh heavenly Lord, let me enter the city with your son today; let me sing of glory to my King, your son, the very Son of God, riding on a donkey, keeping company with shepherds and prostitutes, with the blind and the leper, with the abandoned and oppressed. Let me be filled with joy at Christ's coming and follow the One who welcomes the sinner and dines with the outcast. Let me touch and see as God draws near, riding in triumph towards the Cross.
Prayer for Renewal
Lord, I am one of your people, the sheep of your flock. I pray for you to heal those who are wounded; touch those who are in pain; clean those who are soiled; warm those who are cold; help me to know the Father's love through Jesus the shepherd, and through the Spirit.
Help me to lift up that love, and show it all over this land. Help me to build love on justice and justice on love. Help me to believe mightily, hope joyfully, and love divinely. Renew me that I may help renew the face of the earth.
Oh Lord Jesus Christ, who said to your apostles, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you"; I pray that I and your whole church, the body of all faithful people, will know your peace, and live in harmony and unity, one with another, in accordance with your wishes. This I pray to you, who lives and reigns forever.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Psalm 32:1-6 (The Message)
Count yourself lucky, how happy you must be —
you get a fresh start,
your slate’s wiped clean.
Count yourself lucky —
God holds nothing against you
and you’re holding nothing back from him.
When I kept it all inside,
my bones turned to powder,
my words became daylong groans.
The pressure never let up;
all the juices of my life dried up.
Then I let it all out;
I said, “I’ll make a clean breast of my failures to God.”
Suddenly the pressure was gone —
my guilt dissolved,
my sin disappeared.
These things add up. Every one of us needs to pray;
when all hell breaks loose and the dam bursts
we’ll be on high ground, untouched.
Exodus 14: 22-31 (KJV)
The Parting of the Red Sea 
And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.
And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the Lord looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians, and took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the Lord fighteth for them against the Egyptians.
And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen. And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.
And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them. But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.
Thus the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore. And Israel saw that great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord, and his servant Moses.
Notes on the Scripture
There is not much to say about this wonderful story, as what happened is clear from the face of the text. Moses raised his staff, God parted the sea, and the Hebrews — having packed up their camp, and so with all of their baggage and animals — traveled safely to the opposite shore. They walked on dry land, bravely, as the sea formed walls of water on either side of them.
When the Egyptians tried to pursue, the wheels of their chariots got stuck and came off. The Egyptians lost their nerve and tried to reverse course: but before they could get back, morning arrived, the Hebrews were by then safely across, and God pulled the plug on the walls of water. Thus, Pharaoh's army "got drownded".
There has been a huge amount of scholarship over the past hundred years, attempting to show how this might have happened naturally, but it is mostly nonsense. If you don't trust the account in Exodus, you have no reason to think the Hebrews were ever in Egypt in the first place, since there is no other record of it. If you do trust Exodus, no natural phenomenon can possibly explain what happened.
The one point at which the Old Testament may not agree with modern usage is that the Hebrews might have crossed a body of water no longer called the "Red Sea". But the border between Sinai and Egypt is littered with deep bodies of water (just look at the Hammond Map, linked above); these may have connected to the Red Sea over 3,000 years ago, or they may have been known as the Red Sea collectively.