1) Miriam's vision as a leader started early -- way back by the river Nile as she peered through the rushes, watching and waiting -- for salvation. Miriam was part of a Trinity of women sent to save Moses from death, deliverers of the Deliverer. At one end, Miriam's mother, who let him go in a basket down the Nile River. At the other end, there is Pharoah's daughter, waiting to catch him with surprising compassion. In the middle there is Miriam, the mediator between all these people, the one who watched and waited. What did she see?
They say that Moses had visions of God -- in the burning bush and on the mountain of God. But Miriam too saw God, not burning bright, but in even more surprising ways ... in the face of a mother letting go of her child, in the face of an enemy willing to save one not her own.
In some ways this is an even more fearsome sight. Later on it will be the women who see God in a manger and on a cross. Some of them are named Mary.
Prayer: God of vision, help me to see you hidden in the face of a mother, a child, a servant, an enemy. Give me a vision to see your salvation in unexpected people and places, so that I might hope in you, and pass that hope along to others.
2) Miriam teaches us that there are times when singing and dancing are not optional. By the Red Sea, when we have just escaped by the skin of our teeth, is just one such time. It is not a time for exuberant praise, for not being prim and proper, not caring what others may think of you. There are times when it is necessary to raise our hands and hearts and voices -- when we have been to the edge and back, when our heart is still beating from the danger.
Paradoxically, singing is most necessary at times both of great rejoicing and great sorrow. A man wrote into our local newspaper once long ago that when his little daughter became ill, he no longer knew how to pray. But he could sing. So he sang. Singing was not optional.
On the other side of the Red Sea, on this side of the grave, whether mourning or rejoicing, singing is not optional. Miriam raised her voice to the God who delivers us, and she calls us to this same boldness.
Prayer: God of high emotion, make me unafraid to express my passion before you. Let me not hide the depths of my love or sorrow. Give me courage to call others to sing and dance as well, that in unity and in harmony we may cry out our lament and praise, and find strength in you.
P.S. My sister, who is a graphic designer, is going to design some "logos" for each of the Marys.
P.S.S. I'd like to write one more "Miriam," -- as the first "uppity woman". then on to the mother of our Lord.
I would appreciate feedback.
this is harder than I thought.