Let My People Go

Musing on the Moses story in Exodus. The Jews are all slaves of the Egyptian Pharaoh. Moses tells Pharaoh, ‘Let my people go’…

Hardship: ‘Let my people go’ speaks of freedom for Israelite slaves in Egypt; it was a theme taken by African American slaves…

The image of human slavery is a powerful one. Forces outside your control govern your actions, freedom and identity, bringing suffering, pain and humiliation.

Hardships of social isolation, home-schooling, unemployment, domestic drudgery, addictive behaviours, the fear of covid, the power of political systems… bring physical and psychological slavery.

Hardship to the Israelites came from a Pharaoh with a ‘hard heart’ who refused to change…

Hope: ‘Let my people go’ speaks of an alternative: from slavery there can be freedom, from Egypt there can be a promised land – ‘flowing with milk and honey’.

President Biden yesterday, in his inauguration speech, brought a message of hope:

‘As we look ahead… restless, bold, optimistic and set our sights on the nation we know we can be and we must be…

Uniting to fight the foes we face: anger, resentment, and hatred, extremism, lawlessness, violence, disease, joblessness and hopelessness.’

Moses’ source of hope was not a political system or a determined united people, but a compassionate, miraculous God who could see and change hopelessness.

History: The plagues and exodus would be an important part of national history… a story to tell their children.

President Biden continued: ‘Through Civil War, the Great Depression, world war, 9/11, through struggle, sacrifice, and setbacks, our better angels have always prevailed…

History, faith, and reason show the way, the way of unity. We can see each other not as adversaries but as neighbours. We can treat each other with dignity and respect…’

History is our teacher – experiences we have been through, lessons we have learnt and a God who has protected, provided and ‘let his people go’. Today’s experiences are tomorrow’s history.

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