Thursday, February 11, 2016

Trouble in Egypt

Enslavement.  Unfreedom
The first text of this day is a detailed description of the impossible situation that the children of Israel were in.  They were required by the Pharoah to make bricks but he did not give them straw and then still required the same number of bricks be made.  Moses was on the scene and trying to help but no help seemed to be working.

I read this and thought about seemingly impossible situations in our world (like in Syria) and in our personal lives.  This morning I found myself thinking about a problem in our family and it felt like my mind got in a loop: deep concern, real helplessness, resentment, concern, helplessness, anxiety, concern, helplessness, guilt, concern, helplessness, get the picture.  We love to make answers, resolution, solutions, problem solving and yet we can't.  We are stuck.  We can't get ourselves out of it. The best thing often is to stop thinking about it.  What can you do?

But Lent is a time of self examination and to enter into the reality of the struggles and limitations of our human condition.  Our places of enslavement and unfreedom. And so I do.  In prayer. Which means at some point I literally turn back (look up)  to the source of life.

The Psalm of today is Psalm 91 - and it contains these wonderful words:

You who live in the shelter of the Most High,
who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
will say to the Lord,
“My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust.” 

For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the adder,
the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot.
Those who love me, I will deliver;
I will protect those who know my name.
When they call to me, I will answer them;
I will be with them in trouble,
I will rescue them and honor them.
With long life I will satisfy them, and show them my salvation

I know what it is like to live in Egypt and feel hopeless and wondering where God is and what I am supposed to be doing?  The comfort of this story  is found in the person of Moses who God called to speak to Pharoah and begin the process that will lead them out of Egypt.  It took a long time.  

So I wait and trust in the hidden work of God in me, in others, in the situations that keep me tied up in knots.  I wish that it was easier and quicker than it is.  At the same time, I am aware that there is a call to me to BE Moses on behalf of others.  Which of course, is a daunting and uncomfortable thought.    

And through it all I believe in the power of God's spirit and the angels which provide  and protect us all. 

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