As the middle child in my family, I have known both the call to watch over my younger sibling and the comfort of being looked after.
The day before I left for college, I stood with my brother in front of his closet and explained the clothes chart I had made for him. Every morning of the previous school year, when he was a high school freshman, I had picked out his outfits. So before I left home, he wanted the assurance that he wouldn’t be the butt of someone’s joke—at least not because of his clothing choices.
Each night during much of my childhood, I would ask my older sister to stay awake in our shared room until I fell asleep. That rarely happened because, even at that age, I was a night owl. But when her eyes got heavy, my sister would sing me the old tune “Goodnight, Sweetheart.” This ritual gave me the courage to close my eyes for the night, even as monstrous shadows danced around me.
When I think about Moses’ sister keeping watch, I wonder if she had a plan. If his basket got stuck on a rock, had she decided she’d jump in after him? Did she ever lose sight of Moses through the thick reeds along the river? Did she sing to him? Did she pray for his freedom, hoping that the river’s current could carry him far away from the oppression her family knew?
The wide kingdom of God would do well to model the sacred practice of keeping watch over our brothers and sisters. May we lean into the prayers and compassionate acts that have the power to carry us safely down the river.
Who has kept watch over you on your journey down the river?
God who bears us through life’s currents, give us the strength and courage to keep watch over each other. Amen.