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Season of Pentecost week 10, Common Lectionary year A.

Treasures in the Grass. (Exodus 1:8-2:10)

By Rev. Elisabeth R. Jones

This Sunday’s “Sermon” takes the form of a paraphrase of the Biblical narrative, told as the “Children’s Time” in the All-ages Worship service. The children were involved in the telling of the story, and in the following application of the Biblical Good News to our own lives, first by hunting for “Treasures in the Grass” and then by sharing them with everyone in the congregation.

The Biblical Story.
Long, long ago, in a land called Egypt, there lived a huge family. They were the great, great great grandchildren of a man called Joseph and his 11 brothers. There were aunts and uncles and nephews and nieces, so many there were thousands of them. They spoke their own special language, and they worshipped the God we do – the wonderful, incredible, amazing, magnificent, awesome God .

Now there was a new king in Egypt; called Pharaoh. He had no idea why this family lived in his land, speaking their own special language and worshipping their God.
“What are all these people doing in my country?” he asked his staff. They had no clue either.

“Well, if they want to live in my country, and eat my food, they’d better be useful” said Pharaoh. And he made everyone in the family work for him, long, long hours from sun up to sundown. But Pharaoh still didn’t like them.

“ What if there are more of them than there are of us?” he worried.
So he hatched a plan to have all the boy babies in the family killed as soon as they were born, so there wouldn’t be so many of them. But the midwives – the ladies who were there to help a baby be born safely – loved their awesome, incredible, wonderful God and knew God would never want anyone to harm the boy babies, so they disobeyed the Pharaoh, and the boy babies grew strong.

Pharaoh was NOT pleased, so he told all his own people
“If you see a boy baby from this family, throw him into the Nile river!”
It got very scary to be in the family, but still they stayed in Egypt.

Now, there was a woman in the family who gave birth to a boy baby. She hid him as long as she could, because he was such a treasure, but when she couldn’t hide him any more, she put him in a beautiful basket made of reeds, like a little ark, and she hid it in the grass that grew along the banks of the river. The boy baby’s big sister, whose name was Miriam, also hid herself in the grass, to keep watch over her baby brother.
As evening fell the Pharaoh’s daughter – a princess – came down to swim in the river, along with her servants. ….
What would happen now?? The princess spied the beautiful basket-boat hidden in the grass, and she picked it out of the grass, and there inside…. was a beautiful boy baby!! What a treasure! He was hungry and crying, and the princess picked him up and cuddled him, and immediately wanted to protect him.

Miriam who was watching then did a brave thing. She stood up out of the grass and asked Pharaoh’s daughter if she could help by finding someone to feed the boy baby and take care of him.
‘Yes’ said Pharaoh’s daughter. So Miriam went and fetched her mother who nursed the baby boy. Then Pharaoh’s daughter raised the boy baby as her own, and she called the baby “Moses.”

That’s quite a story, isn’t it?
Which bits were scary? Pharaoh wanting to kill boy babies is scary. Wondering what the Pharaoh’s daughter would do with the baby.
Which parts made you feel better? (Miriam watching her brother), Pharaoh’s daughter picking him up and cuddling him. That the baby was safe.
Who in the story is brave? The Midwives are brave, they decide that protecting children is what God would want them to do, and that’s more important than following the rules of a crazy leader who wants to hurt people.

Who were your favourite people in the story? My favourite is Miriam. I think she was brave, and loving.

Application to our own lives.
Now in the story, this tiny baby is called ‘a treasure’.
Many moms and dads when their new babies are born, think that this tiny baby of theirs is a ‘treasure’ – precious, and they fall instantly in love with them, and want to do all that they can to keep their treasures safe.
Moms and Dads aren’t the only ones who think that babies are ‘treasures’.
Who else does? Are you a big brother or sister?
What about grandparents, aunts and uncles?

What about God?

In the story today we heard that the Hebrew family worshipped our wonderful, incredible, magnificent, amazing and awesome God.
When Pharaoh wanted to hurt people, it was the love of God that the midwives could feel inside them, giving them courage to be brave and protect the little children.
It was the love of God inside Miriam that gave her the courage to be brave and watch out for her little brother.
It was even the love of God inside the princess that made her love the little boy when she found him.

It’s the love of God inside us that helps us to share that love with others, too.

It’s the love of God inside Commander Martha and Christie and all the mission pilots and science guys, and baby sitters, and snack makers, that inspired them to spend the last week sharing that love of God with all the kids who came to Galactic Blast.

One of the amazing things we all learned this week, was what happens when we let the love of God that’s inside us explode like a supernova, shine like a star, or zoom about like a comet, or make soft billowy nebulas that look like a gentle hug in the sky….
That love of God helps us to become amazing people.
(Remember the awesome kids we learned about who made a world of difference? Some of them were no older than you are, but what a difference they made, because they shared the love of God inside them with others.)

Just like you too, all of you, are treasures in God’s heart.
Everyone of you has the love of God inside you that will help you make a world of difference. Even the boy baby Moses…. but I’ll save that story for another day…

Now, before I’m finished today though, I want you, and everybody here to believe me when I tell them that every single one of you is as precious a Treasure in God’s eyes as Moses was.
To help us all, there are some little treasure cards, hidden in the grass.
Any of you, young or young at heart, is invited to hunt in the grass for at least 2 of these treasures. One of the treasures you get to keep for yourself, but the other one you get to give to someone who is sitting down. There should be enough for everyone.

When everyone has a treasure in their hands, let’s sit down quietly for a moment.

Look at your treasure card,
hold it to your heart as if it really is a treasure that’s precious.
Repeat what’s written on the card (and if you can’t read it yet, ask an older person to read you your treasure),
repeat it a few times until you feel it tingle inside…
God’s message to you, God’s precious treasure.
Let the love of God become part of who you are.

Then I invite all of you who have wallets or purses to put your treasure card into your wallet. Or take it home and put it on your fridge, or on the side of your mirror. So that sometime a few days or weeks from now, when you’ve almost forgotten, this little treasure card will remind you who you are, and how special a treasure you are in God’s eyes.

© Rev. Elisabeth R. Jones. August 2011

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