We asked attendees at Diocesan Convention to tell us what they’d learned from Exodus so far, and here are some of the responses we got back.
I am surprised by how wonderful it has been to preach and teach the Exodus story over the last months. It has deepened our whole parish’s understanding of how the Exodus story undergirds the Christ story and our understanding of how God acts in the world for us and with us.
I read Small is Beautiful forty plus years ago, but it never occurred to me that “lifting up the underclass” is costly. The cost is “that if they get a piece of the pie, then what might I do if I get hungry in the middle of the night?” (p. 34 of An Other Kingdom). I never realized that it was a security issue as well as a power issue. I’ve been blessed with spontaneous and deeply rooted feelings of security (a gift from my adoptive parents). My sin is a need/determination to remain an individual. Also, I never realized that the Exodus story was a “kind of narrative that would help form the identity of an emerging people” (Meyers, p. 11).
I am at Ascension and Holy Trinity, where Colleen Matthews has been facilitating a Bible Study. We are reading Exodus as a narrative, not as a factual history. I’ve been surprised by how that makes God look dramatic instead of petty. I’ve loved how it follows a hero’s journey, a la Joseph Campbell, and this makes me appreciate the rest of scripture. It has informed me in new ways. One I’ll call out is that God did not practically help the Israelites. God waited until they joined their voices in lament and supplication. My interpretation of that is that we need to let go of our fear of what will happen and know that when things get back enough for us to join together, God will be there. Things at church and in our country need to change. People don’t want to believe that, we don’t want to give up our security, our rituals, our comforts. We need to be willing to let some of that go and we don’t want to.