Category Archives: Justice

35 Days Until Easter: One World, One Prayer


This past Friday evening I was at the annual World Day of Prayer service with the theme Let Justice Prevail.  Given all the differences in circumstance around the globe, it is hard to think of everyone praying the same thing at any given time, other than the Lord’s Prayer.  I thought that I would include the prayer for intercession from the service.  This was written by the World Day f Prayer Committee of Malaysia.

Almighty God, we thank you that through Jesus Christ, you have opened a new and living way whereby we can come with confidence in prayer.

Lord we pray for the leaders of our countries.  Grant them wisdom to know and do what is right and just.  Grant them the compassion and willpower to do your will.  Fill them with a love for truth and righteousness and fill them with the fear of God that they may work for the justice of all people.

God from whom all justice flows, hear our prayer.

O Lord, thank you for creating us in your image – uniquely gifted to contribute positively to home, society and church.  While many of us are comfortable in our setting, there are those who are oppressed and abused, isolated and silenced.  We pray for those who are voiceless victims of oppression and violence; victims of inequality and abuse; victims of unjust and biased cultural practices, victims of religious practices of law.

Jesus, who suffered injustice for us, hear our prayer.

Gracious Lord, we pray for migrant workers, the weak, the poor and the marginalized , that their cries for help and elevation from discrimination, deprivation of rights and dignity be heard and be acted upon by those in power over them.

Holy Spirit, empower us to work for justice and peace.

O God, we pray that you will strengthen your church with power and revelation that Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith.  Let us be rooted and established in love.  Grant us the boldness and wisdom to reach out to the community in a holistic manner.

God from whom all justice flows, hear our prayer.

O God, we ask a vision of your justice and for the strength of the persistent widow to work for it.  You have called us to be instruments of justice in a world of strife and false justice.  We pray that you will make strong our hands and make clear our voices.  Give us humility with firmness and insight with passion, that we may fight not to conquer, but to release.

Jesus, who suffered injustice for us, hear our prayer.  Holy Spirit, empower us to work for justice and peace. Through the name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, we pray.  Amen.

 

prepared and adapted for use in Canada by the Women’s Inter-Church Council of Canada

Enemies/ When we get to know people, they look a lot less like enemies!


Yesterday as I was driving around town to do errands I was listening, as I usually do, to CBC radio. The theme of the show was friends and enemies.  The first bit I heard was talking about “frenemies” those people who are your good friends and yet who can make you feel terrible about yourself.  Later they were talking about enemies.

Do you have enemies?

I thought about this quite a bit through the day.  I have people of whom I’m wary, some people I would prefer not to spend time with, but I really don’t think I have any enemies.

Many would probably think that people should hate their ex-spouses.  Sitting around a lunch table at work the other day the topic of ex-husbands, step-parenting, and shared custody.  There were all kinds of different relationships, but not one of the people expressed hate for anyone.

Later yesterday, again on CBC, I heard writer Daryl Davis being interviewed about his book, Klan-Destine Relationships: A Black Man’s Odyssey in the Ku Klux Klan.  He and the host, Sook-Yin Lee asked Mr Davis about his meetings, interviews, and in some cases eventual friendships with leaders of the Ku Klux Klan.  The twist in this situation was that the writer was a member of the very group most hated by the KKK, he is an African American!  He said that he decided to conduct this research because everything he had ever read about the issue was written about white people.  He wanted to understand how someone could hate someone they had never met.

The interesting thing is, that I think we are far more likely to hate people we haven’t met than those we have.  If you haven’t met someone, you will only know about your differences and be blind to all that you have in common.


How Many People Live In Your World?


As I was driving to take supper to my friend who is in a nursing home I was listening to The Message on XM Radio.  They played a song called My Own Little World by Matthew West.  Singing along it brought me to reflect on how often my world is underpopulated.  When the news is uncomfortable or disheartening, I will turn it off and I rarely give until it hurts.  Read through the lyrics below, reflect on them and listen for God’s urging as you realize opportunities you have to let others into your world today.

In my own little world it hardly ever rains
I’ve never gone hungry or always felt safe
I got some money in my pocket shoes on my feet
In my own little world
Population me
I try to stay awake through the Sunday morning church
I throw a twenty in the plate but I never give ’til it hurts
and I turn off the news when I don’t like what I see
it’s easy to do
when it’spopulation me
What if there’s a bigger picture
what if I’m missing out
What if there’s a greater purpose
I could be living right now
outside my own little world
Stopped at the red light, looked out my window
Outside the car, saw a sign, said “Help this homeless widow”
Just above this sign was the face of a human
I thought to myself, “God, what have I been doing?
“So I rolled down my window and I looked her in the eye
Oh how many times have I just passed her by
I gave her some money then I drove on through
in my own little world there’s
Population two
What if there’s a bigger picture
what if I’m missing out
What if there’s a greater purpose
I could be living right now
outside my own little world
Start breaking my heart for what breaks Yours
give me open hands and open doors
put Your light in my eyes and let me see
that my own little world is not about me

Read more: MATTHEW WEST – MY OWN LITTLE WORLD LYRICS http://www.metrolyrics.com/my-own-little-world-lyrics-matthew-west.html#ixzz1mDXWdU00 
Copied from MetroLyrics.com 

You can listen to this with lyric slides at the following link.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvSwcMp9vU4 

No Vacancy : Making Room At Your Inn For A Weary Traveller


As I sat in the choir this morning I had a great view of our church nativity scene.  It being the first Sunday of Advent, however, it was not what you might expect to see.  There is a big lighted, open fronted, wooden barn.  Inside there were a couple of sheep and a shepherd.

Everyday life in Bethlehem. Shepherds, farmers and their families.

This is actually the most normal scene it could be.  Most barns and stables are there for the farmers, in this case shepherds, to house their animals.  Barns are not for people to stay in, and certainly not to be confused with maternity wards!  Christmas Eve will see a young family move into the stable.  How does this come to pass?  They will be in the stable because there was no vacancy at any of the inns in Bethlehem.

This is a pretty familiar story isn’t it?  I wonder if there are vacancies in our hearts for the travelers, the tired, the poor, the displaced, and other folks in need in our communities and our world.  In Bethlehem the inns were filled up with those people, in town for the census, without families with whom they could stay.  Not only that, but they were the ones who had started out early, planned wisely, and traveled quickly.  From many people’s perspective, Mary and Joseph brought their problems on themselves, they didn’t deserve a room since they didn’t have their acts together!  Mary,however, was in no condition to travel more quickly.  

How often do you hear people question whether or not the poor deserve our support.  After all, “If they didn’t want to be poor they should get off their butts and get jobs!”  When we feel this way, the rooms of our heart are all filled up with self-righteousness, pride, and prejudice.  For those people most in need, their material help may lie with us, so we need to pray for help with clearing out those undesirable tenants.  Remembering that we in no way deserve the grace of God, and that we constantly do things that make us less deserving, should be the humbling we need to remove the pride and self-righteousness.  The only thing we can do to get rid of the prejudices taking up space in our hearts, is to learn about, and get to know those who need our help.

Bravo To Those Brave Enough To Relive The Horror!


This photo is of the Bima of the Synagogue in Tarnow, Poland.  It is all that remains of the once beautiful place of worship for nearly half the city’s population which was destroyed and decimated respectively during the Holocaust of WWII.  Like all people my age, I learned about the Holocaust in history class and through various documentaries and movies I have seen since.  I never doubted the horror, but until tonight I had never heard f Tarnow, and had never actually spoken with an holocaust survivor.  Now I think I’m unlikely ever to forget it.

Tonight I was privileged to attend a talk by Dr. Israel Unger, a retired Chemistry professor and a child holocaust survivor.  Dr. Unger shared his memories as a young child.  Memories like  seeing his grandfather pushed down the stairs and then shot, hiding behind a false wall in the attic of a flour mill for two years, and unrelenting fear.  He put some things into perspective in a unique way.  He read the names of three children who were killed during the holocaust and then told us that it had taken him fifteen seconds.  At that rate it would take over two-hundred eight-hour days to read the whole list.

The strength it must take to survive the events he did, and then to relive them every time he speaks about them would be unbelievable if not witnessed.  I believe that this kind of bravery will lead to real change in the world.  Like the disciples who risked their lives to go out and spread the  story of their experience with Jesus, Israel is doing what he can to ensure that this kind of systematic, and factory style genocide will never happen again.  Bravo!

 

IT IS TIME TO GROW THE GLOW OF HUMANKINDNESS : LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOUR AS YOURSELF


It is time for change in our world.  It isn’t that this in new information or a new situation, but that doesn’t make it any less true.  I have been struggling with what to write, or whether to write at all about my reaction to the past week’s news stories.

One day last week I was driving to school in the morning and listening to a young Canadian girl talking about how happy she was that Moammar Ghadafi was dead. News reports were talking about huge parties which had broken out in Libya and among Libyan populations in other places worldwide.  While I understand that it is a huge relief that the dictatorship is ended and that people will naturally celebrate a victory after a hard-fought battle for freedom, how did we come to a place where we are teaching our children to celebrate a person’s death?  Whatever else he became, Ghadafi was a man, someone’s son, husband, brother, father etc.  

Also last week news articles came out about a young man in Ontario who committed suicide.  Sad at any time, this case was made more visible by the fact that the 15-year-old had been keeping a blog in which he was very open with the struggles he had with depression and being gay. He spoke of how hard it was being the only openly gay young man at his school and the fact that it was too hard to wait for “It to Get Better” (check out the It Gets Better campaign fighting against suicide amongst LGBT teens)

On the heels of all of this I just watched an episode of Harry’s Law in which the lawyer Harry Corn was the defense lawyer for a teen blogger who was being tried for murder as a result of the suicide of one of her targets.  While she had “outed” the girl on her blog, used terrible expressions to refer to her, and even went as far as to encourage her readers to let her know that they “knew” she was gay, she was found not guilty of murder.  There were no punches pulled that the bullying had been horrific, nor about the results,  and statistics on this problem were brought forward in the trial.  In her closing arguments Harry pointed out that it really took a whole community to create such a huge tragedy.

When Jesus was with us, during his ministry, he already knew change was needed.  Jesus was a change maker, a boat rocker!  He taught us that the greatest commandment was to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, all our souls, and all our minds.  Second only to that was to love our neighbours as ourselves.  The stories from last week represent what my students might call “epic fails!”  We need to spend a lot more time actively working to show that we love our neighbours, even the ones with whom we do not agree!  We can each start on our own, and we can join with groups like the Humankind one at my school with campaigns like Grow the Glow, anti-bullying days, Ally weeks etc. 

 

 

 

 

 

Mehc-ote-pesqin : I Am One (part 2)


In Luke 7:36-8:3 we read the story of Jesus’ dinner at the home of a Pharisee.  When he had arrived he was given none of the regular special treatment that would normally have been given to an honoured guest.  When the woman he considered to be a sinner bathed Jesus’ feet with her tears and dried them with her hair, kissed his feet and anointed them with ointment the host complained that the woman shouldn’t be touching him.  The host went even further, saying that the fact that he allowed it was sure proof that Jesus was not a prophet.  In response, Jesus told story about two men whose debts were forgiven and Pharisee agreed that the one forgiven more would be more grateful, he then showed how the woman had honoured him according to her great gratitude, while the Pharisee had not been very grateful at all.  Jesus told the woman her sins were forgiven.

 

My friend and colleague Ron has much to forgive, and I feel honoured that he has given me permission to share a little of his story with you…Ron is from the Tobique Nation and used to teach with me at the High School in Oromocto.  He is a keeper of the sweat.  Growing up was a real combination of family and culture on reserve and discrimination off.  He had friends who were taken to residential school. He went to day school with the nuns in his area for four years, and then to the regular local schools. His mother taught him to run home if he saw the RCMP and priest together. Ron tells of the culture shock of the school system and people assuming that he was stupid.  Any time anything went wrong at the school they would round up all the native kids and line them up in the gym and demand a confession.  They would leave them there for hours as there was most often nothing to confess.  Ron and the other kids from the First Nation were treated just as the woman in the Gospel reading.  And yet they had done nothing to deserve this.  They were born, as were we all, just as God had intended, loved by God just as much.

 

At the General Assembly in 2010 time was spent looking about  issues of the indigenous peoples and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  One speaker was Chief Terry Paul of the Membertou First Nation, a Mi’kmaq community in Sydney, Nova Scotia. Chief Paul offered a glimpse into his painful experience with the residential school program: “For me, the residential schools issue is very difficult to think about, let alone talk about, to go back to that five-year-old that I left behind. I blamed government, religions, even God for what happened. But it was people that did this. And here I am today, ready to forgive. I am not only a survivor; I am a witness to this horrible history.”

 

Truth and Reconciliation Commissioner, Marie Wilson then shared with the Assembly some insight into the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. “A huge part of the story of the Commission is about our failure in the past to see the universally sacred, and revisit that,” the commission “is not a national guilt trip, but Canada’s chance to breathe new life into what the Constitution says.”

 

Wilson stated that “the point of residential schools was to remove the Indian from the child, so within a few decades there would be no ‘Indian problem’,” with the result that “three and four-year-old children were removed from their families and put into isolated communities, going months and years without family contact.” She asked the Commissioners, “What would you do if they came to take your child, just learning to talk, barely out of diapers?”  One of the seven Truth and Reconciliation national events is coming up October 26-29th, 2011 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  We continue to need to promote healing and reconciliation.

 

gkisedtanamoogk  is a member of the Wampanoag Nation from Mashpee, “Massachusetts.”  He is married to a woman from the Mi’kmaq Nation and lives with his wife and children at Esgenoopotiitj.   Both the Wampanoag and Micmac Nations are part of the Wabanaki Confederacy of Nations. Gkisedtanamoogk works hard to educate and guide his people on the red path, and to open the eyes of non-aboriginal people to their unique way of viewing the world.  In his book co-authored by Frances Hancock, Ceremony is Life Itself, he expresses what it is to live your life spirituality better than I have found it almost anywhere else…

 

“We structure our life on a Ceremonial Cycle…Our whole way of Life, Ceremonially speaking, is one continuous Song, one continuous Ceremony.  The way we move is a Dance.  Ceremony is Life itself.  It is the way we do things.  Ceremony, to us, is the daily Life; everything we do, everything we think about is all part of that same expression.  From Planting the Corn to raising the Sacred Bundle, the Children, we are conscious that all Life is Sacred, that all Life is a Song; and we are thankful for it.”

 

“The construction of Giving Thanks is literally: I am exposing my enoughness, my fullness.  It expresses that my needs are met.  The condition of expressing that my needs are met, that the needs are met, is what we call Thanksgiving…I am up this morning.  I have Life.  I have risen/ I have come from the Sleep Time, the Dream Time…All that should govern us as Human Beings is our Honoring of the Creator, our honoring  of all our Relatives….That is the whole meaning of our Existence: becoming one with the Great Mother and All Our Relations.”

 

        The next time someone greets you with, “How are you?” or, “Donnegok?” I pray that you will be able to respond with,  “Mejedebesquin!”

Mehc-ote-pesqin : I Am One (part 1)


How do you greet people when you meet them?  At King’s Landing Historical Settlement we said “Good day,” at the high school some kids say hi by pushing each other into lockers, hi, hey, bonjour, beunos dias… When I wanted to learn some Korean I learned how to say their greeting, “anyong haseyo”, and one year during Native Awareness week at school they taught us a bunch of nouns, but I asked how to say hello in Maliseet. An informal greeting like “hey”  is “quay” but the main greeting is “Donnegok”, how are you?

At the end of this month, Halifax will be hosting the Truth And Reconciliation Commission hearings.  I am not an indigenous person and I make no pretense to even the slightest degree of expertise on the topic of Canada’s indigenous peoples.  But, I love to learn, and there is much to learn from our indigenous brothers and sisters, especially about our stewardship of creation, and how to live a truly spirit filled life.

I am going to use the two stories; 1 Kings 21:1-10 (11-14) 15-21a, and Luke 7:36-8:3, and stories of three of my indigenous contacts to look at the answer to Donnegok… “Mejedebesquin”,     I am one.

In Psalm 5:1-8 we read,

“4For you are not a God who delights in wickedness;
   evil will not sojourn with you.
5The boastful will not stand before your eyes;
   you hate all evildoers.
6You destroy those who speak lies;
   the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful.”

 

All of those negative descriptions are what King Ahab and his pagan wife Jezebel represent. Ahab was spoiled. At his secondary palace in Jezreel, there was a neighbour, Naboth, who owned a vineyard which had been in his family for generations.  Ahab wanted to take this land away from the person who had it and turn it into a vegetable garden next door for his own convenience.  He offered either replacement land or the equivalent in cash.  The answer he received was, “The Lord forbid that I should give you my ancestral inheritance.”  Ahab wasn’t used to hearing no and he became depressed.  He told his wife about it and she told him not to worry.  She set up a plot which resulted in the death of Naboth thus allowing Ahab to have his garden. While Ahab was in the middle of this garden he had taken through villainy, God sent the message that he was not pleased.

 

There are several underlying question here.  First of all was the land either of theirs to give?  And even if it was theirs, how could you put an appropriate price on the land of one’s ancestors?  In Turtle Island (the continent of North America) “fair deals” and cheating, lying, and trickery have long been used to deprive the indigenous peoples of their ancestral lands.  Deals were made but not honoured, diseased blankets were “given” out in a very successful gamut to kill off large populations, reservations were formed and the people restricted from using the land in the traditional manner.

My friend Hugh Akagi is the chief of the Passamaquoddy people whose land straddles the Canada-US border and includes St. Andrew’s New Brunswick.  This First Nation is recognized only on the US side of the border.  As Hugh says, when he is on this side of the border he fades in and out because according to the government of Canada, he doesn’t exist.  You may read his letter which was written to the United Nations in 2002 at http://www.sipayik.com/akagi’s_appeal_to_the_un.htm

What Will Your Song Be? part 2


When you hear of Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron, do you immediately think of her quick thinking that allowed her mother to be the nursemaid for her brother under the protection of the
Pharaoh’s daughter?  Maybe you think of when she and Aaron challenge Moses’ authority since God had also spoken through
both of them at which time she was punished, being struck with leprosy and Aaron and Moses plead for her healing.  I think she is most readily associated with this simple song of celebration at being rescued from a terrible fate.  Scholars believe, in fact, that the original song on the shore of the sea was the simple two line celebration song of Miriam and that the longer version, attributed to Moses and the men, was actually written much later.  If you study the lines in terms of poetry this makes a lot of sense as there is no use of simile or metaphor in the two lines, no sign of exalted language, just the most basic and important facts.  Miriam is known for her song, for what will you and I be remembered?

Mary, unlike Miriam but much more like most of us, was a total nobody to the greater community of the tribes of Israel.  She
was pregnant but not married, the father was God.  What she had to look forward to was being the central figure of all the local gossip, being shunned, and probably losing her fiancé.  She sang in thanksgiving for news which most young women would have thought was going to totally mess up their lives!  Mary sang when she greeted her cousin Elizabeth, also pregnant, whom she visited right away after receiving her news.  There were no
instruments, no dancing, and no big crowd.  But she sang about being the most fortunate woman on earth and of all the good things that God had done for Israel since the days of Abraham.  She praised him for showing strength to bring down the tyrants, and his mercy in pulling up the victims, filling the hungry, and his faithfulness in remembering his promises to Abraham.  Obviously Mary is known for much more than her song, and yet it is the Magnificat, a song sung with almost no audience at all, which has become a part of liturgy.  We don’t need a crowd, we don’t need drums and trumpets to sing our songs.

Our children have begun another school year complete with the new shoes, the indoor and outdoor, the backpacks, binders, duo tangs, pens, pencils, erasers, etc. and a teacher/student ratio of no more than 1:29.  In Dadaab, currently the world’s largest
refugee camp, there are currently 156,000 school-age children.  Of those, 40,000 children now prepare to go back to school as well, but at a ratio of 1:100.  According to the UN, the camps are in desperate need of 1,800 more classrooms and the teachers to go with them. 

Whatever our place in the world, whatever our status in our culture, whether we are “somebodies” or “nobodies” we have a call to sing.  To be clear, while I firmly believe that everyone can sing music, it is not necessarily singing music to which I refer.   Anything you do to create harmony in the world, whatever you do in praise of God, whatever you do at God’s urging can be your song!  The feature of the September, 2011 issue of The Presbyterian Record is all about the Presbyterian women’s gathering which was held in the spring.  The theme was “Looking In, Shouting Out”.  At this event women from every province in Canada as well as from 12 partner countries met for workshops and worship on topics ranging from Caring for Creation, Nurtuting a Christian Family, Muslim Women-Myths and Facts, Yoga as Christian Practice, Bullying in Canada, and Women in Poverty.  The presenters of the workshops were shouting out!  They were
singing their songs!  And what of the over 500 who attended these workshops and worship services?  You don’t attend this kind of conference unless you already have a deep desire to make a change in the world, and these women were there preparing themselves to sing at home in their churches and communities, and perhaps even beyond.

I’ve been watching a British TV show lately called Ballykissangel.  It is about an English Priest who ends up
posted to a church in a little town in Ireland and all his misadventures.  Recently I watched an episode in which there
was a reporter who uncovered a scandal involving a local businessman and political candidate.  When the politician
suggested that the reporter was just, “whistling in the wind.”  the reporter’s response was that he was unable to whistle but he could  certainly sing really well!  He was not going to
keep a lid on the story; he was going to sing it out so that everyone would know.  Whether or not we can whistle, we
can all sing in some way or other to let everyone know about the great things God has done for us through his son Jesus.  In the words of a song by the Carpenters;

Sing, sing a song
Sing out loud
Sing out strong
Sing of good things not bad
Sing of happy not sad.
 
Sing, sing a song
Make it simple to last
Your whole life long
Don’t worry that it’s not
Good enough for anyone
Else to hear
Just sing, sing a song.
 
Sing, sing a song
Let the world sing along
Sing of love there could be
Sing for you and for me.
 
Sing, sing a song
Make it simple to last
Your whole life long
Don’t worry that it’s not
Good enough for anyone
Else to hear
Just sing, sing a song.

What Will Your Song Be? part 1


When I read the Lectionary readings for Sept 11, 2011 and the passage from Exodus 14:19-31, 15:1b-11,20-21 with its very familiar story of a miraculous escape from Egypt by some 600,000 slaves, their dependants, belongings, and livestock, the thing that struck me was that anybody would have bothered recording the little bit at the end about Miriam and the other women singing a little short song after the great extensive song of Moses.   Not only is it included, but for some reason it seems to make more of an emotional impact than the longer song.  From all the times I have heard the story, I always remember the part about the women singing and dancing, but I retained no real recollection of the Song of Moses which comes first in the account as we read it today.  Women are often not even mentioned in Biblical accounts unless they are giving birth or being given in marriage.  I was intrigued and no matter how much I looked at the Lectionary readings in Romans and Matthew, I couldn’t get this oddity out of my head.  In internet searches under Miriam there are more mentions of this song than any of her other appearances in the Exodus story.  Miriam, it would seem, is remembered most often for this short song.

The Old Testament contains many songs of various types.  These include songs of; triumph, ascent, Sabbath sacrifice, love poems from Song of Songs, celebration, prophetic oracles, and Psalms.  The New Testament uses the terms hymns, psalms, and odes, which all refer to songs of praise.  Most of these songs are recorded with no mention of their sources.  There are, however, several named songs among which we find; The Song of Moses, The Song of Miriam, The Song of Deborah, The Song of Hannah, Songs of David, Song of Solomon, and from the New Testament the Song of Mary which is also called the Magnificat.   While women were not involved at all in the music of the Temple, they were frequently depicted with their drums, singing in religious celebrations and processions.  Indeed, women with drums took the second priority in the order of processions, just behind the singers.  This seems significant given that so little attention and respect are paid to women in this time.

The people of the Exodus were refugees.  Sometimes  I think that escapes our notice as we tend to think of them as a nation, but they were refugees.  Think of  the video or photo coverage you have seen of the refugee camps in countries around the world today.  On the road to the camps we see groups of refugees, some driving small carts or piled into trucks, but mostly plodding along by foot moving with their loved ones in sometimes vain hope of finding a place of safety, of peace.  Right now in East Africa this tragedy is added to by the fact that these people are near starvation as well.  They end up, if they are lucky enough, in big dusty areas in the middle of nowhere filled with tents and far more people than is probably sanitary for the amount of space.  Children are running everywhere, the people line up for hours to receive some small share of the food aid which is
provided, and often walk great distances to find fire wood and fresh water to drink.  It must be exhausting just living in such a state of chaos, away from everything with which they are familiar, clinging to their families and praying for the chance to go home.  Technically the Israelites were heading home, that is to the ancestral lands which God had given.  In reality, there was no one still alive in Egypt who had ever lived in this much talked about place.  They had all heard about Abraham and the whole story of God’s promises to their people, but what was familiar, what was home, was behind them with the Pharaoh and his army.

Miriam was “a somebody” among the Israelites of the Exodus.  She stood with her brothers Aaron and Moses in leadership over the group.  She was a prophet, not common for women, and people listened to her.  Along with the more extraordinary traits, she was the daughter of a family in slavery.  She was used to the harsh treatment which was by this time being meted
out on her people.  She was there when the Nile turned to blood, when locusts filled the land, when the midwives were instructed to kill all the male infants at birth, when the order went out from the Pharaoh to take every Israelite boy who was born and drown them in the Nile.  She was there also when Moses returned to his people and began the negotiations with Pharaoh to release the people to return to their own land.  She was there the night of the Passover when all the Egyptian first-born sons were struck down.  Along with all the other women she had quickly gathered all she could, including the bread, not yet risen, and set off on foot to an unknown place at a moment’s notice.  Twenty-four days from that hurried departure, exhausted from stress and anxiety and still in the middle of nowhere, Miriam sang and danced, leading all the women in thanksgiving and celebration of a narrow and miraculous escape from likely death or re-enslavement.

It is not too late to have your donations for the crisis in the horn of
Africa doubled by the Canadian Government. All donations received by September 16th will be matched. You may give through any of the registered charities one of which is Presbyterian World Service and Development. You can donate by visiting http://presbyterian.ca/pwsd