St. Luke’s, Long Beach, California, 2013.

(This is a homily, so you may want to skip it.) Today Jeremiah refers to the parting of the Red Sea, which for the Jews is central in the History of Salvation. In Romans, Paul discourses on the Law, with an example of what does and does not constitute adultery for women. And I asked, “Why does he always bring up women when he talks about adultery? David committed adultery; he even killed for it.” No surprise, we have these patriarchal scriptures we have to accept (and by now Paul has long been joyously converted). However: the full History of Salvation is broad and infinite. God led the Jews out of slavery, and in 1948 back into Israel; just like God led African-Americans out of slavery, and Russian serfs, and someday will lead Palestinians. God is leading women out of slavery – and blesses Malala. Most of all, God leads sinners out of slavery every day. So I asked, “Is there art that uses imagery we can understand today of all God’s liberations?” If so, I can’t find it. There are classical paintings, Charlton Heston knockoffs, two-bit cartoons and cynical commerce; but nothing that I could find where the travelers look like us – with Sojourner Truth and Frederick Douglass, Enmegabowh and Emma of Hawai’i, Tutu and Gallaudet, Florence Li Tim-Oi and Bill W., Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Harvey Milk. So I chose this illustration in hopes that we can see that God parts the Red Sea every day – that we are the ones walking through it, if we have the courage and faith to accept it; and that it doesn’t look like Hollywood, it looks like St. Luke’s, Long Beach.

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