June 10, 2023 • Life for Leaders
Scripture — Exodus 15:21 (NRSV)
And Miriam sang to them: “Sing to the LORD for he has triumphed gloriously, horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.”
In the full song of Moses and Miriam, we see their declaration that the Lord was their strength and their salvation. This was their father’s God and their mother’s god. Their tia’s and abuelita’s God. A God of old who calls and guides, loves, and sustains our work and our role in it.
Yesterday we remembered how an older Miriam danced on dry land with her tambourine as a precious reminder of God’s liberation from slavery. The work of liberation was hard and long and unresolved for decades. We remembered how young Miriam had maybe stumbled into her prophetic vocation out of necessity and out of her own personal pain. Liberation required a team to work together—from the Hebrew midwives to her mother, to Pharaoh’s daughter.
In the full song of Moses and Miriam, we see their declaration that the Lord was their strength and their salvation. This was their father’s God and their mother’s God. Their tia’s and abuelita’s God. A God of old who calls and guides, loves and sustains our work and our role in it. A long obedience in the same direction is sustained by a long-and-everlasting love of God.
What I noted about this story that I had not seen before was the prophetic joy that preceded the work of justice and liberation. The tambourine opens up the way, the wind that God sends works all night to part the waters. Miriam is leading the way with joy. She knows who to trust and she knows the one that has come through for her, her family, her brother, and her people before. Her calling and vocation are steadfast and sustained by the strength of the Creator above.
As I think about women visionaries who trusted that the work wasn’t done even in the midst of pain, I remember those who worked through the struggle to see us through with joy to the other side. Modern Miriams are the likes of a Harriet Tubman, Yuri Kochiyama, Dolores Huerta, Dorothy Day. I remember their hard prophetic work and their calling that opened up the way for mine.
Go ahead, grab your tambourine again. The work that you do is worth it. May God be with you in every high and every low. I am not denying your pain. But it is worth it. May you work and lead with joy and may generations after you harvest the work and harvest your joy.
What is the role of joy in our work and vocation? What robs you of joy?
Remember to reclaim joy. Google the old hymn “His Eye is on the Sparrow”.
God of joy, who rejoiced in our making and rejoices in our presence. God who works in us and through us to bring joy and purpose to our work and vocation. God who is present in our pain which allows us to be present to others in the midst of their pain. Help us reclaim our joy, both in our lives and our work. May joy surprise us in the caterpillar that transforms into a butterfly, in the buzzing of working bees, in the work of blooming and watering, in the different seasons of our soul—would you give us eyes to be surprised by joy? Amen.
Banner image by Randy Tarampi on Unsplash.
Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project’s online commentary. Reflection on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Israel at the Red Sea and on the Way to Sinai (Exodus 13:17-18:27).
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