Dancing In The Desert

Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron's sister, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women followed her, with timbrels and dancing. Miriam sang to them: "Sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted. Both horse and driver he has hurled into the sea." -Exodus 15:20-21



Well, picture with me for a moment that the Israelites have just left Egypt, they've just done the traumatic crossing of the Red Sea, and they've just gone through that incredible experience, and it's their first night in the desert. So picture with me, Moses gathering together his executive team, if you will, and he wants to take stock of where they're at, what exactly... What exactly did they bring to sustain them in the desert? And so Moses gathers together his executive team and he looks at Mariam and in my imagination, you're welcome to imagine the story however you want it, but in my imagination, Mariam, the quartermaster or the logistics readiness officers, we'd say in the Air Force, she's in charge of all this stuff, right? And so Moses looks to her and says, Okay, Mariam is the first night of a 40-year camp out... What did we bring to help us survive this 40-year camp out? Tell me, tell me, Mariam. Tell me... We brought tents for everybody, right.Tell me, I wanna know that we brought tense for everyone, and


Mariam says “Tents?”. No


Tense. Now, we brought a couple of tent pegs, they'll probably be used later. You can read about JL later when you get home, but... Yeah, no tense. Okay, Moses says No, no test. Tell me, tell me you at least brought some turkey jerky, tell me we were gonna feast on some turkey turkey... No, not really, Moses. We got some real thin bread, some of it kind of do 'cause we were in a hurry. You remember you were there, right, Moses Mariam says, we were in a hurry to get out of Dodge, right. So we got some thin bread, but no turkey jerk. Well, at least tell me you. We brought some frog-leg jerky. Alright, plenty of frogs. You made some frog-leg jerky right now.



No, no shelter. Moses says very little food, Mariana, in the world did you bring? To help sustain us in our desert life. That's easy, Moses says. But I brought the most important thing I could think of, I brought the one thing that will sustain us through this incredible journey, I brought a tambourine. You heard Jimmy, Jimmy. Can you picture Moses? Look on his face. You brought what... You didn't bring shelter, we really don't have much to... And you brought a tambourine.. Why in the world? Moses says, Why in the world would you bring a tambourine... No, no, no, no, I didn't bring just a single tambourine, I brought a tambourine choir. That all of the women had tambourine. According to our passage this morning, all of the tambourine. So Mariam says, Yeah, I've been having choir practice... It's Thursday, right? Thursday is the Holy Holy Night of choir practice. Even for these relates, when they were in captivity, Marian had called together all of her sisters in faith and had timbering choir practice on Thursday night while they were yet slaves in Egypt, they had to... Right, at least in my imagination, they had to...


They had to be practicing for this moment, so Moses says... So not only did you bring a tambourine for yourself, you brought a whole tambourine choir... Yes, I did. Why?Well, I just knew that we would need some encouragement in the desert, I knew there would be times of disappointment, of struggle, of wanting to go back to known misery rather than to face unknown freedom. And Mariam says, You know, I thought of the power of music and of dancing, and I couldn't help but think of the power of this one instrument in a choir together to be able to encourage us to move forward, 'cause Mariam, I imagine says... Would say to Moses, I guess I had that capacity to imagine our desert life and to plan ahead, because Pharaoh may have had my body, but he didn't have my mind, freedom is of the mind that the only way Pharaoh would have my mind is by my consent and I refused to be in prison as a slave to Pharaoh in Egypt and give him my mind because I refuse, I'm in charge of my mind, and Mariam said, my mind was made up that we're gonna need encouragement, we're gonna need a resolute clarion call to move us towards freedom, because it's too easy to go back to known misery that yes, God has released us from bondage and set us free, but it's up to us to stay free.


Yes, it's a partnership with God, that God has set us free. But we have to live into that freedom, we have to live in to that freedom we have to keep facing towards the promised land, that is too easy to go back to our bondage of old habits and old addictions and old relationships, when God is calling us forward, to a new life. So Mariam looks at Moses, in my imagination.


Moses looks back at Marian, takes her tambourine and says, Moses, I just have one question for you. Will you shake my tambourine? I count on you to be in my chamber in choir. Can I count on you to be an encourager? Can I count on you to be a light in the midst of darkness? Can I count on you to be a voice of freedom, even when times are gonna stink in the desert, can I count on you to shake my tambourine So that we would all know the direction towards freedom that we're heading, that we would never ever be tempted to go back to the known misery of Egypt.


So people of the church of the warm heart. I have one question for you. Will you shake Mariam tambourine? Will you say yes to be an encourager to people that are in the desert. Will you come alongside folks that are struggling to... Wanna go back to Egypt to say No, no, no. The better life is this way. Will you shake Mariam tambourine? Will you shake Mariam tambourine?


You know what freedom tastes like because you've seen it in the person of Jesus Christ, and if you're baptized in Christ, you have experienced that freedom first hand by the power of the Holy Spirit, you know the power of being encouraged because you've been encouraged by Jesus Christ. And you've seen it in each one of your brothers and sisters in this place. Now, I know what some of you are probably thinking.


Yeah, I get maybe what you're saying preacher, but about shaking a tambourine for somebody else, but I don't know if I can do that. Right. I- don't know if I'm good enough. I don't know if I know enough. I don't even know what I really believe. That's okay. I'm still trying to figure out what I believe. It's a working process. We're being perfected in love in our lifetime as good Weslyans, we're moving on in the process, and so it's okay, it's okay wherever you're at, not to fully grasp what it means to be a tambourine shaker of light, Freedom and Hope. It's okay, it's okay to question, it's okay to struggle with what it means, because our faith is a faith of action... Yes, beliefs are important, but that's another sermon, but


This tambourine shaking is about lifestyle, it's about behavior, it's about actions, that is... You're probably aware that the early Christians weren't called Christians, they weren't called the church, it's called the way, the way W-A-Y, because they had a lifestyle, they had a way of behavior of acting, that they modeled their life after the template of Jesus Christ. And so we are here to learn more about that template of Jesus Christ.


To learn more about the life of his shaking the tambourine of grace, hope. And for that's why we gather so often in church, ever wonder why, why do we have to go to church so often? Every week, right? 'cause we're trying to get it right, that Jesus has given us an example of what it means to shake a tambourine of freedom, and that we need to continue to learn that in this incubator infused by the Spirit that teaches the way of Christ.


So friends, if you're a little hesitant about shaking the tambourine of Mariam... Just start where you're at. Start with yourself, be your biggest cheerleader. I know that you are loved immensely by God and been made by God's design, and then start with your circle of influence, how can you... How can you be an influencer of freedom, maybe it means no gossip, maybe it means no poo-poo, it don't be... People don't have a negative attitude, or maybe it means something deeper, like giving up an addiction to say, Wow, I really am addicted to this substance or this behavior... I need a new life. So start where you're at. I'm not gonna save the world in one day, but we can save those and influence those around us. So friends, I hope this church continues to be the church of the shaking tambourines, I hope individually and collectively, you continue to point towards freedom to people that are oppressed, people that are trapped, people that have no hope. I think we can agree that if ever was ever a time that we needed a church to rise up and shake a tambourine of freedom, it is today to shake a tambourine of freedom for all people.


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