Thursday, April 9, 2009
The story of the exodus of Egypt informed Israel of who they were (and are), what they were doing (and are), where they were going, who was leading them there... All the important questions. This was their salvation. Their salvation provided the impetus and framework for them to be who their God was calling them to be. This was the story they lived in and under. To this day millions of Jews celebrate the Passover in remembrance of the slavery and redemption of their ancestors. This story still shapes their identity and peoplehood. I was able to participate in a Passover Seder last night. It was great. And refreshing. It invited me into an amazing story, invited me to let this story become my own and tell me who I am and how I might navigate my existence. Now I know the exodus was a specific historical act and carries great significance as the salvation of Israel in that moment (and today). But it is more. During the Seder I couldn't help but think about the millions of people who are held in slavery and bondage today, just as the Israelites were back then. And when you hear YHWH say that Israel should now be people who welcome and help the alien among them because they used to be aliens and slaves in a foreign land...I couldn't help but think that abolishing slavery now might be of the same importance to God as it was back then. Oppression and slavery of humans has not somehow become a peripheral, secondary concern for the Creator of humanity. YHWH says to Israel (essentially) "you are my people and I have redeemed you from slavery. Now go do the same." Jesus comes saying (essentially) "you know how Israel is the people of YHWH. Well, now all are. Those ancestors freed from slavery are in some way now your ancestors. That story is your story. So act like it. Oh and to show you that I'm serious about this, and that YHWH loves and is inviting all people into this great story, I'm gonna offer all salvation, from yourselves and the destructive stories you can't seem to break free from. You are slaves (to yourselves, to sin, whatever name it might go by) who are supposed to be free. Now live like it." YHWH give me the strength to live like it.