By Ali G.
At chapel on Tuesday, Rabbi Michelle Medwin spoke about the biblical story of the crossing of the Red Sea. Like many parts of Scripture, I had assumed I knew the story. But I had an experience that’s pretty common for me in chapel: I had never before heard the whole story, and thus, I didn’t really understand the point of it. The prophet Elijah originally parts the sea and then ascends to heaven.
Moses is told to follow in his footsteps and by the power of God, cross the Red Sea and lead his people out of slavery. He is afraid that he cannot. He does not part the sea, until he takes a leap of faith and actually steps foot into the water. Once he enters the water, the ocean parts for him.
Back home, and when I first arrived at the school, I used to be a sarcastic cynical atheist. I thought I knew absolutely everything about everything, and I would say sardonic and biting things like “Why do churches need donations? Why don’t they just pray for money?” That’s obviously ridiculous to me now, but the sentiment is true in a way, that can be summed up a bit more delicately in a piece of AA wisdom: faith without works is dead. Without individual action and personal responsibility, even God at your side cannot solve all of your problems.
The power of prayer is indisputable, but until you take the first step, nothing can happen. The sea cannot part until you make the attempt to cross it. I learned this week in chapel that God will simply not work for me, but God will work through me. God will work through me once I, like Moses, take my first tentative step into the sea of uncertainty, indecision and confusion.