"Come, you faithful, raise the strain of triumphant gladness! God has brought His Israel into joy from sadness, Loosed from Pharaoh's bitter yoke Jacob's sons and daughters, Led them with unmoistened foot through the Red Sea waters.
"Alleluia! Now we cry to our King immortal, Who triumphant burst the bars of the tomb's dark portal. Come, you faithful, raise the strain of triumphant gladness! God has brought His Israel into joy from sadness."
Apparently, the astounding miracle of freedom faded a bit into the background. Struggling on their long journey through the desert to the promised land, the Israelites fell to grumbling and complaining. They questioned Moses' leadership and began to despise the heaven-sent manna that sustained them. Conveniently forgetting the burdens of slavery, they even wished they were back in Egypt where they enjoyed all sorts of good things to eat (see Numbers 11:5-6). They seem to have lost sight of the fact that God freed them from Pharaoh's bitter yoke. Shattering the chains of slavery through His mighty acts of power, God led His people with "unmoistened foot" through the Red Sea. Jacob's sons and daughters watched from safety as the waters fell back to destroy their enemies.
We may find it difficult, if not impossible, to understand Israel's forgetfulness. Yet at times the astounding miracle that is Jesus' resurrection may fade a bit from our memories. On Easter morning we sing with triumphant gladness, but in the days that follow, the cares and worries of life threaten to overshadow the joy, or perhaps merely push it aside.
Through God's mighty acts of power—hidden beneath the suffering and weakness of the cross—we were loosed from the bitter yoke of slavery to sin, death, and Satan. Now we are united by Baptism to our Savior, whose yoke is easy and burden light (see Matthew 11:30). As He once sustained Jacob's sons and daughters, our Lord sustains us, nourishing us for life's journey with His Holy Supper. Daily we feed on the life-giving manna of the Word that is near us, in our mouths and in our hearts (see Romans 10:8).
After years of wandering, the Israelites finally stood at the Jordan River, ready to cross into the promised land. The waters of the Jordan piled up and once again God led His people with unmoistened foot across the Jordan. When our journey through this life is done, we too will prepare to cross the Jordan. Yet we do not have to fear death's raging river, because our mighty Savior has burst the bars of His tomb, and following Him, we will cross with unmoistened foot into the promised land of life in His presence forever.
It may be that Easter joy will slip from our minds now and then, but the glad alleluias are not over. They never will be.
THE PRAYER: Mighty risen Lord, walk with us through life's journey. Nourish our faith with Your Word and Holy Supper until You bring us safely to the promised land. Amen.
This devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn, "Come, You Faithful, Raise the Strain," which is found on page 487 of the Lutheran Service Book.
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