top of page

Sunday Service 22nd June

Let my people go



Call to worship

Hymn193: God is love


Time for all


Hymn 137: All things bright and beautiful 


Reading: Exodus 5: 1-14




Hymn 396: And can it be





Hymn 543:  Longing for light






Welcome to our meditation for 23rd June.

There is a very famous spiritual song, ‘Let my people go.’ and it comes from the passage that we will be looking at today, but it is one thing to see a problem, it is another to actually face it.


We will look at this after our prayer and reading for today.



Let us pray

Gracious and merciful God,

we come before you with hearts full of adoration and praise.

You are the Creator of the heavens and the earth,

the one who sustains all things in grace and care.

We lift our voices in awe of your ever present love and comfort.

We come before you acknowledging you as the God of compassion and mercy.


You are the One who hears the cries of the oppressed and brings deliverance to the downtrodden.

You are the one who hears that groans of the ill and suffering and brings healing and comfort.

You are the one who hears the pleas of the bereaved and the sorrowful and brings hope and joy.


We lift our voices in worship, for you alone are worthy of all praise.

We know your abiding presence amidst suffering and injustice.

Just as you heard the cries of the Israelites in Egypt,

you continue to hear the cries of refugees fleeing violence, persecution, and hardship.

Your heart is moved with compassion for the displaced and the marginalised, and your love knows no bounds.

You are the God who provides refuge for the weary and the oppressed, offering hope and healing to those who are in need,

for your steadfast love that never fails.

you are our rock and our salvation, and our refuge in times of trouble.


Merciful God,

we come before you with contrite hearts, acknowledging our own shortcomings and failures.

We confess that we have often turned away from the plight of the disenfranchised, the outcast, the refugee, and all who face discrimination.

We have been complicit in systems of oppression and injustice,

failing to extend a hand of welcome and hospitality, closing our eyes to the distress of others.

Open our eyes to see what is going on in the world, open our eyes to what you call us to do.

Our Father,

Which 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 debts as we forgive our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil;

For thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever.




I wish I could sing it but there are the famous words of the spiritual, sung by the black slaves in the cotton fields...


When Israel was in Egypt landLet my people go!Oppressed so hard, they could not standLet my people go!


So the Lord said, go down MosesWay down in Egypt landTell all PharaoesTo let my people go


If I was to ask you what your favourite part of the Bible was, I bet that for most people it would be something comforting.

Something that reminded them that life could be good, especially when life is hard.

For some it may be something like the 23rd Psalm with passages like

‘The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are beside me.’

Or maybe one of the parables of Jesus, maybe the parable of the lost sheep or the lost son and that gives us comfort when we know someone lost, or feel lost ourselves, that there is someone who cares enough about us that they are searching for us.


If I was to ask you about your least favourite passage I wonder what that might be.

Maybe Leviticus, I am working my way through that just now and I admit that it is hard, Leviticus is just a list of ritual sacrificial laws that seem obsolete now.

And it is so tempting to just miss them out and move onto something more interesting.

Or maybe the book of Revelations, with all its confusing allegory and symbolism, why bother with reading those passages when there are others that are easier to understand?


But there would also be another category of passage out there...passages that we don’t like to read because they are just dark, they show us too clearly what the world can be like.


And often we don’t want the world to be like that.

We want the film version of stuff.

You know when there is a problem and then the hero comes along and the problem is solved...all nice and convenient and in less than 2 hours.


But life often isn’t like that.


Often the problems in life are more like this passage.


Moses was wandering in the wilderness looking after his father-in-laws flocks.

He sees a burning bush and when he investigates he hears God speak to him.

God tells him that his people are suffering but that God has a plan to free them and lead them to the Promised Land.

And that plan involves Moses going to the Pharaoh and persuading Pharaoh to let the people go.


But look what happens.

There is no easy answers.

There is no rational explaining and coming to a mutually agreeable conclusion.

The reality is that those with power resent any change

and want to emphasize to everyone that they have the power and they are not letting it go.


The end result is that the Israelites confront Moses and ask him what he is doing; because things are getting worse rather than better,

they complain that it would have been better that Moses never came at all,

they make such a compelling case that eventually Moses complains to God and asks why he was even sent to Pharaoh.


We don’t like reading these passages because we feel often that we are in that place.

Often we are the ones that see a problem,

maybe in our family,

maybe with one of our friends,

maybe in our work,

maybe in the organisation that we are part of...

and the reality is that we have had experience of this before,

we get involved and, despite our best intentions, things get worse rather than better,

and often we become the bad guys and we have a hard time of it,

and the conclusion that we come to is that it is better to just not get involved.


Let’s be honest, that’s the way of the world.

We have the presidential elections in America and the two candidates are fighting over America’s involvement in the world;

should they bother getting involved in Gaza, should they bother getting involved with Ukraine.

And there are a lot of voices that are saying to them no...

‘Not our problem. Just walk away. Leave them to it.’


In our own country most of the discussion round asylum seekers involves people wondering how involved we should be with other people’s problems.

‘We acknowledge that maybe they are facing persecution in their own land, maybe they are facing death and torture in their own land,

but they don’t need to be coming here and bringing their problems with them. Not our problem.’


The reason passages like this are uncomfortable is because they are not confusing, they are not difficult to understand,

but they do make us face truths that we don’t like to face, but need to be faced.


Like the reality that there are things going on that are just wrong and we need to confront them.

If we ignore these problems then they will not just go away.

If we pretend that these problems are someone else’s then they will not just disappear


The problem with the Israelites was that they were in a place that was killing them, literally, killing them.

They were tools to be used by Pharaoh, and once they ceased to be useful, they were destroyed.

Pharaoh had already started a programme of genocide where infants were regularly culled.

The long term effect of this would be the eventual removal of the Israelite people from history.


And then there was Moses.

And Moses could say that it wasn’t his problem,

that he had a comfortable life,

that he had other responsibilities.


And if he said any of this then the problem would never have gone away.


It was the same thousands of years later with the black slaves singing their spiritual songs, reflecting on this passage...each song a reminder that their problem wasn’t just going to go away either.

They were a people who had had their humanity and their dignity diminished

and God had seen their plight and it wasn’t just going to go away.


It didn’t matter how much white Christians pretended that it wasn’t a problem,

it didn’t matter how much they theologized to justify why things could just stay the same, things could not carry on the way they were.

And the sooner people faced that problem and dealt with it the better.


You could even argue that because these problems have never really been faced that we still have tensions and problems between races today.

Black and white, Palestinian and Israeli, Russian and Ukrainian.

As long as one group have power and they are using it to make sure that another group has less power, the struggles will go on.


That seems really bleak.

And it is bleak.

But that is why these passages are important.



You see the problem we really face is this.

As long as we pretend that the world isn’t like that, as long as we pretend that our wee part of the world isn’t like that,

then we can pretend that it isn’t our problem,

that we don’t need to get involved,

that we can close our eyes and imagine that if life is Ok for us, then it’s Ok for everyone.


And the problem with that is that the problem never goes away, if anything it just gets worse and worse and worse until we are faced with the problem ourselves, and life seems hopeless because no one can do anything about it.


Simple example.


How long have we had a problem with the way we finance dentists?

What do governments do about it?

Do they face the problem; do they make hard decisions about it?

No, they tell us that they have trained more dentists than ever before,

they tell us that they are spending more money on dentists that ever before.

And what happens is that more and more dentists leave and it is nearly impossible to join a dental practice.

A while back I was talking to my dentist and he was telling me that he had a backlog of thousands that he was trying to deal with.


These passages force us to face the truth that the world is full of problems that need to be faced.

And only when we have the courage to face that truth, do we see the hope.

Because these passages then tell us that with God’s strength we can face them.

With God’s endurance we can overcome them.


If we pretend there is no problem then the problem never goes away.

If we can face the problem then we can see the wonderful truth that we don’t face those problems alone, that God is with us and helping us through them.


That is the wonder of the Gospels, the GOOD NEWS of the Bible.

God literally walks our path with us.

As Christ he faced what we faced.

He was a refugee.

He faced betrayal.

He faced torture.

He hungered and was thirsty.

He had friends that let him down at times.

He faced political problems that were bigger than him as an individual.

He saw friends and family die.




Before he faced any of that he was up in heaven and he could have said,

‘Not my problem, I’m doing Ok I’ve already done my bit,

I was instrumental in creation,

I helped design the duck-billed platypus,

I was one of the architects of the Great Barrier Reef and the Grand Canyon.

Why should I go down to earth, what difference would it make?’


But he came to walk our path, to help us with all the problems we have.

And asks us to do the same, to face the world as it is, and to decide that it can’t stay the way it is.

But not alone,

Jesus faced these problems when he was on earth,

he will face these problems with us as long as we walk this earth.


We can make a difference;

The way we deal with our neighbours,

the way we deal with our families,

the way we deal with the strangers we meet in the streets.


With God’s strength, with God’s endurance,

facing the truth as it really is,

we can help make a difference.
























Let us pray

Loving God of justice,

we cry out to you,

our voices merging and mingling with the cries of the countless named and unnamed

fleeing war,

fleeing persecution,

fleeing poverty,

seeking a better life,

seeking lost family,

seeking safety and peace.


We cry out, loving God, because we see no other option.

We turn to you for your guidance and wisdom.

Show us how to make change in a world were those who advocate for the weakest are ignored

and those who advocate for the strongest have all the power.


Give us strength, loving God,

to continue to walk in the path of justice,

to understand Jesus’ promises and know them to be true.

Be with us and all those who cry out today.


Above all remind us that we have eternity on our side.

The truth will find a way out.

Justice will be completed.




Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
No tags yet.
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page