EASTER VIGIL — Year A

Third Reading: Exodus 14:15 – 15:1

A reading from the book of Exodus.

Then Our God said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me?  Tell the Israelites to go forward.  And you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea, and split the sea in two, that the Israelites may pass through it on dry land.  For my part, I will make the hearts of the Egyptians so hard that they will go in after them. Then I will receive glory at the expense of Pharaoh and all the army, chariots and charioteers.  The Egyptians will know that I am the Most High God, when I receive glory through Pharaoh and the chariots and charioteers.”

The angel of God, who had been leading Israel’s camp, now moved and went around behind them.  The column of clouds also, leaving the front, took up its place behind them, so that it came between the camp of the Egyptians and that of Israel.  But the cloud now became dark, and thus the night passed without the rival camps coming any closer together all night long.  Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and Our God swept the sea with a strong east wind throughout the night and so turned it into dry land.  When the water was thus divided, the Israelites marched into the midst of the sea on dry land, with the water like a wall to their right and to their left.

The Egyptians followed in pursuit; all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots and charioteers went after them right into the midst of the sea.  Just before dawn, Our God looked down upon the Egyptian forces from the column of fiery cloud, and threw the army into confusion and panic, clogging their chariot wheels that they could hardly drive.  With that, the Egyptians sounded the retreat before the Israelites, because Our God was fighting for them against the Egyptians.

Then Our God told Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the water may flow back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots and their charioteers.”  So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at dawn the sea flowed back to its normal depth.  The Egyptians were fleeing head-on toward the sea, when Our God hurled them into its midst.  As the water flowed back, it covered the chariots and the charioteers – Pharaoh’s whole army – which had followed the Israelites into the sea.  Not a single one of them escaped.  But the Israelites had marched on dry land through the midst of the sea, with the water like a wall to their right and to their left.  Thus, Our God saved Israel on that day from the power of the Egyptians.  When Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the seashore and beheld the great power that Our God had shown

against the Egyptians, the people held Our God in awe; they put their faith in Our God and in Moses, God’s trusted servant.

Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to Our God:

“To you, Our God, I sing:

you have covered yourself in glory,

horse and rider you have thrown into the sea.

Our God is our strength and our song,

You have become our salvation.”

The Word of God recorded in the book of Exodus.