Tag Archives: hope

When Other Becomes Our

Henry Ossawa Tanner – Moses in the Bullrushes

Then, a new king, who knew nothing about Joseph, came to power in Egypt. He said to his people, “These Israelites are so numerous and strong that they are a threat to us. 10 In case of war they might join our enemies in order to fight against us, and might escape from the country. We must find some way to keep them from becoming even more numerous.” 11 So the Egyptians put slave drivers over them to crush their spirits with hard labor. The Israelites built the cities of Pithom and Rameses to serve as supply centers for the king. 12 But the more the Egyptians oppressed the Israelites, the more they increased in number and the farther they spread through the land. The Egyptians came to fear the Israelites 13-14 and made their lives miserable by forcing them into cruel slavery. They made them work on their building projects and in their fields, and they had no pity on them.

15 Then the king of Egypt spoke to Shiphrah and Puah, the two midwives who helped the Hebrew women. 16 “When you help the Hebrew women give birth,” he said to them, “kill the baby if it is a boy; but if it is a girl, let it live.” 17 But the midwives were God-fearing and so did not obey the king; instead, they let the boys live. 18 So the king sent for the midwives and asked them, “Why are you doing this? Why are you letting the boys live?”

19 They answered, “The Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they give birth easily, and their babies are born before either of us gets there.” 20-21 Because the midwives were God-fearing, God was good to them and gave them families of their own. And the Israelites continued to increase and become strong. 22 Finally the king issued a command to all his people: “Take every newborn Hebrew boy and throw him into the Nile, but let all the girls live.”

The Birth of Moses

During this time a man from the tribe of Levi married a woman of his own tribe, and she bore him a son. When she saw what a fine baby he was, she hid him for three months. But when she could not hide him any longer, she took a basket made of reeds and covered it with tar to make it watertight. She put the baby in it and then placed it in the tall grass at the edge of the river. The baby’s sister stood some distance away to see what would happen to him.

The king’s daughter came down to the river to bathe, while her servants walked along the bank. Suddenly she noticed the basket in the tall grass and sent a slave woman to get it. The princess opened it and saw a baby boy. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. “This is one of the Hebrew babies,” she said.

Then his sister asked her, “Shall I go and call a Hebrew woman to nurse the baby for you?”

“Please do,” she answered. So the girl went and brought the baby’s own mother. The princess told the woman, “Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you.” So she took the baby and nursed him. 10 Later, when the child was old enough, she took him to the king’s daughter, who adopted him as her own son. She said to herself, “I pulled him out of the water, and so I name him Moses.”

Exodus 1:8-2:10

He didn’t know
why there were so many Israelites in Egypt.
He didn’t know
how Joseph had saved us,
that it is because him any of us
are still here,
that he was the one
who organised us
in our fight against the famine,
he was the reason we didn’t starve.
His family prospered
only because we all did.

But
this king
knew nothing of that.
he saw only
those he perceived as ‘foreigners’
overrunning ‘his’ land;
People he thought of as ‘other’
prospering
where he thought his people
should be.

In fear
he acted to keep them down,
crush their spirit,
make life difficult,
reduce their numbers.

Yet the more he oppressed them,
the greater they grew.
Hard work,
menial tasks
and slave labour could not keep them down.

So he thought he would
go straight to the route of the problem.
Get rid
of every new born male.
That should soon
bring them into line,
stop them growing.

But he hadn’t reckoned
with the love of one woman,
unwilling to let her child go,
and another
who felt the same.
A baby
kept safe by his mother,
discovered by the Princess
and kept safe.
However much her father
considered him other,
she now called him her own.
One of the very children
the King was trying to rid himself of,
ultimately brought up under his own roof.

Man plots,
but God will always find a way.

Forgive me Lord,
when I fear the other,
their success
and well being.

Save me,
when I jump to conclusions
without finding out
the truth.

Forgive me
when I act from what I think I know
and make others suffer.

Thank you for those who love
and those who have courage
to stand up for that love.

Bless those
who are care givers,
whatever the situation.

Thank you
that you
are always working.

1. Almighty Father, who dost give
The gift of life to all who live,
Look down on all earth’s sin and strife,
And lift us to a nobler life.

2. Lift up our hearts, O King of kings,
To brighter hopes and kindlier things;
To visions of a larger good,
And holier dreams of brotherhood.

3. Thy world is weary of its pain;
Of selfish greed and fruitless gain;
Of tarnished honor, falsely strong,
And all its ancient deeds of wrong.

4. Hear Thou the prayer Thy servants pray,
Uprising from all lands today,
And o’er the vanquished powers of sin,
O bring Thy great salvation in.

In the Breaking Bread

emmaus

 

We were on our way to Emmaus. There seemed little point hanging around in Jerusalem.  Jesus was dead.  All those hopes dashed, dreams failed to be realised, thinking this was it – when clearly it wasn’t. God’s not back, the promised Messiah isn’t here after all, and, frankly, we look fools.

The women had come back with tales of the tomb being empty and some angels telling them that Jesus was risen, but how can that be true?  Wishful thinking and the all too easy visions of the bereaved and heartbroken I’m sure.

So we were off. Nothing else for it really.

As we walked along we tried to make sense of it all.  What had really happened?  What had all this been about?  Who was Jesus and what was he really trying to do?

As we went along someone else joined us. I had no idea where he had been as he had no idea about what had happened in the last few days. He must have been buried somewhere to not know about all the commotion that had gone on.  How could he not have heard about Jesus and all the amazing things he had said and done?  How had he not heard about the whole trial, death and crucifixion debacle? Didn’t everyone know about the tomb now being empty?  How could we begin to explain all this to him?

Then he said something really strange. He challenged us on our understanding.  Clearly he knew more than he’d let on!  He said we were slow. Rude! That we had failed to grasp that the Messiah had to suffer these things – it was precisely that that proved he was the Messiah.  And he went right back to the beginning of the scriptures and carefully explained it all.  It was our own personal theology and Christology lesson.  What an amazing encounter on such a day from someone who we thought hadn’t got it.

We came to the village.  He seemed to be going further, but after such a conversation we couldn’t let him go.  It was late and offering hospitality was the right thing to do, so we invited him to stay with us.  The meal was on the table. He reached over and took the bread, and he broke it…

Wow!  Echoes chimed, realisation dawned.  This was Jesus – alive and with us. Without us realising he had made everything clear to us.  He had journeyed here with us and now he was in our house and breaking bread for us.

He is alive. He is risen!  He is here.
Francisco de Zurbarán La Cena de Emaús (excerpt) 1639.JPG

May we know God’s blessing,
his presence
his reassurance
and his feeding

when we recognise him
and when we don’t.

May we know that he walks with us
whether we realise it
or not.

May we be very sure
when we need to be

and know that he is with us
always

Amen

Luke 24:13-35 (GNT)

The Walk to Emmaus

13 On that same day two of Jesus’ followers were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and they were talking to each other about all the things that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed, Jesus himself drew near and walked along with them; 16 they saw him, but somehow did not recognize him. 17 Jesus said to them, “What are you talking about to each other, as you walk along?”

They stood still, with sad faces. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only visitor in Jerusalem who doesn’t know the things that have been happening there these last few days?”

19 “What things?” he asked.

“The things that happened to Jesus of Nazareth,” they answered. “This man was a prophet and was considered by God and by all the people to be powerful in everything he said and did. 20 Our chief priests and rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and he was crucified. 21 And we had hoped that he would be the one who was going to set Israel free! Besides all that, this is now the third day since it happened. 22 Some of the women of our group surprised us; they went at dawn to the tomb, 23 but could not find his body. They came back saying they had seen a vision of angels who told them that he is alive. 24 Some of our group went to the tomb and found it exactly as the women had said, but they did not see him.”

25 Then Jesus said to them, “How foolish you are, how slow you are to believe everything the prophets said! 26 Was it not necessary for the Messiah to suffer these things and then to enter his glory?” 27 And Jesus explained to them what was said about himself in all the Scriptures, beginning with the books of Moses and the writings of all the prophets.

28 As they came near the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther; 29 but they held him back, saying, “Stay with us; the day is almost over and it is getting dark.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 He sat down to eat with them, took the bread, and said the blessing; then he broke the bread and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he disappeared from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Wasn’t it like a fire burning in us when he talked to us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?”

33 They got up at once and went back to Jerusalem, where they found the eleven disciples gathered together with the others 34 and saying, “The Lord is risen indeed! He has appeared to Simon!”

35 The two then explained to them what had happened on the road, and how they had recognized the Lord when he broke the bread.

Good News Translation (GNT)Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

 

 

 

Meeting Me As I Weep – Taking Me To A New Place

John 20:11-18 The Message 

11-13 But Mary stood outside the tomb weeping. As she wept, she knelt to look into the tomb and saw two angels sitting there, dressed in white, one at the head, the other at the foot of where Jesus’ body had been laid. They said to her, “Woman, why do you weep?”

13-14 “They took my Master,” she said, “and I don’t know where they put him.” After she said this, she turned away and saw Jesus standing there. But she didn’t recognize him.

15 Jesus spoke to her, “Woman, why do you weep? Who are you looking for?”

She, thinking that he was the gardener, said, “Mister, if you took him, tell me where you put him so I can care for him.”

16 Jesus said, “Mary.”

Turning to face him, she said in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” meaning “Teacher!”

17 Jesus said, “Don’t cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I ascend to my Father and your Father, my God and your God.’”

18 Mary Magdalene went, telling the news to the disciples: “I saw the Master!” And she told them everything he said to her.

 

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson

 

He called my name,
gently,
lovingly,
that tender voice I knew so well.

I knew it was him.

This was no figment of my imagination,
a hallucination in my distress.
This is him – Jesus.

Different, but still my Jesus.

Here with me.
In all that is going on,
and all that will be.
Ever present.
Knowing me.
Loving me.

He stands by me in my weeping
and takes me on.

He is here.

He’s not dead, he’s alive.
He still knows me and calls to me.

I’ve got to go and tell.
They’ve got to know.

 

I hear you Lord,
calling my name.
Into my confusion,
my despair,
my pain,
my questioning.

You stay with me
in my weeping.
You call my name.
Tenderly,
reassuringly,
filled with love
and comfort.
Bringing hope
and peace.

I hear you,
find you,
know you afresh.

And in my time
I go
and tell
that you are here.
you are not gone,
distant,
dead

you are alive

On this most poignant of Easter days, God remains with us. He has not gone, but stands with us in our weeping and leads us on. Hope dawns again.