They moved from enslavement to liberation
through a parted sea
across a wilderness
and a river.
Miram played her timbrel then.
They packed up what they could carry
while the blood of lambs dried on lintels
and God passed over.
Miram placed her timbrel then.
They left behind every thing -
everything predictable and familiar
oppressive days and captive nights.
Miriam didn’t leave her timbrel then.
Step by step Egypt faded into memory
manna and quail fell from heaven
water flowed from rock
Miriam’s timbrel jingled in her pack then.
The timbrel traveled for forty years
waiting for that last river crossing
to be remember, played as
Miriam danced before the whole assembly.
How many timbrels lay at the bottom of packs
through the hunger, thirst, and anguish,
Through the wandering days and the bleakest nights?
Tens, hundreds, thousands? Timbrels waited.
The women trusted, knew days of praise would come
again when the wandering ended and the Promised Land
was underfoot for the first time in generations.
Miriam’s timbrel, the other women’s timbrels played, then.
We’ve traveled far and long since those ancient days.
Do we still follow the prophets (old and new)
with timbrels in our packs,
quiet reassurance of praise-filled days yet to come?
Are we brave enough to do as Miriam did?
She inspired the other women to make room for timbrels,
room for future songs and praises
knowing wilderness lay between now and then.
We are held captive by pharaohs,
all who endorse White supremacy,
White nationalism and proclaim God’s whiteness.
There is a wasteland between captivity and liberation.
Pack now for the journey.
Leave behind fear, hatred, and distrust of neighbors.
Listen to the Prophets (ancient and new) who call us into new life.
There is enough blood drying in our streets.
God has not passed over us;
we have passed over God
who holds the bleeding and dying and grieving
waiting for us to notice God is only in the love.
We need the timbrels, jingling on the journey,
waiting for the days of freedom and praise.
I am Miriam’s child. Are you?
The quiet sounds of my packed timbrel guide me.
It will be hard for you to join the praise later,
after the journey, if you leave your timbrel behind.
We need the secret sounds of promise now
if we are to sing and dance and praise then.
We do not go into the wilderness alone.
Miriam’s timbrel echoes there still
and the pillars of fire still burn
the ground is as sacred now as it was then.
Join me on this journey into all that is possible –
Love your neighbor as yourself…
Repair the breach…
Sing praises right out loud.
Let’s not wait until then is now.
Let’s begin in this moment,
timbrels at the ready.