Excerpt from Nehemiah 9:6-15
"And you saw the distress of our ancestors in Egypt and heard their cry at the Red Sea."
Reflection by Talitha Arnold
"You saw the distress of our ancestors and heard their cry at the Red Sea." That's not all God did, according to Ezra, the leader of the Israelites when they returned from exile. When his people seem to have forgotten who God is and what God had done for them, Ezra stands before them and makes sure they remember.
He begins with God's creation of heaven and earth, moves through God's call of Abraham, and into the Exodus, manna in the wilderness and the law from Sinai. It's an impressive list.
God's actions in our own lives might not be quite so dramatic, but each of us might do well to make our own lists on occasion. What has God has done in your life?
Like Ezra, go back to the beginning - if not the beginning of creation then at least the beginning of your own life. Start with your birth, when in the words of a prayer from the UCC Book of Worship, God called you "forth from the womb of (God's) being and breathed into you the breath of life."
Even if our experiences of God's saving grace didn't have the special effects of the Exodus, I suspect each of us can, as the old Spiritual sings, "look back in wonder at how we got over." At least I know I can - when I remember Ezra's call to remember.
Make me mindful, O Lord, of all you have done for me throughout my life. Help me to look back in wonder at how I got over and give you thanks for it all. Amen.
About the Author
Talitha Arnold is Senior Minister of the United Church of Santa Fe (UCC), Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is the author of Worship for Vital Congregations, published by The Pilgrim Press.