Exodus 15 is one of the classical Prayer Book lessons for Easter Day. Although its shortened form has been a Canticle for the Daily Office since only 1979, it has served as a Canticle for the Great Vigil of Easter since the early centuries of the Church. The Song of Moses has also been appointed for several similar roles over time – Sundays in the Ambrosian rite, Lauds in Easter Week in the Mozaribic rite, and in Lauds on Thursdays in the Roman rite. The 1979 Book, thus, suggested a combination of those ancient uses: the first Canticle in Morning Prayer on Thursdays, as well as on Sundays during Eastertide.
I will sing to the Lord, for he is lofty and uplifted; * the horse and its rider has he hurled into the sea.
The Lord is my strength and my refuge; * the Lord has become my Savior.
This is my God and I will praise him, * the God of my people and I will exalt him.
The Lord is a mighty warrior; * The Lord is his Name.
The chariots of Pharaoh and his army has he hurled into the sea; * the finest of those who bear armor have been drowned in the Red Sea.
The fathomless deep has overwhelmed them; * they sank into the depths like a stone.
Your right hand, O Lord, is glorious in might; * your right hand, O Lord, has overthrown the enemy.
Who can be compared with you, O Lord, among the gods? * who is like you, glorious in holiness, awesome in renown, and worker of wonders?
You stretched forth your right hand; * the earth swallowed them up.
With your constant love you led the people you redeemed; * you brought them in safety to your holy dwelling.
You will bring them in and plant them * on the mount of your possession,
The resting-place you have made for yourself, O Lord, * the sanctuary, O Lord, that your hand has established.
The Lord shall reign * for ever and for ever.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
One who is new to the liturgical tradition may not recognize this immediately, but this Canticle screams “Easter” in every way possible. Exodus 15 was a Lesson for Easter Day in the classical Prayer Books, the Exodus has always been interpreted by the Church as a type of Christ’s deliverance on the Cross, and the crossing of the Red Sea a type of Holy Baptism. The celebration of God’s people following their deliverance from Egypt becomes our celebration following our deliverance from sin and death. Christ is a mighty warrior, the Lord is his name; the chariots of Satan and his army has he hurled into the sea! He will lead the people he redeemed to a place of safety, to his holy dwelling where he has gone to prepare a place for us; he will plant us on his holy mountain, the eternal sanctuary where he shall reign for ever and ever.