Thursday, March 30, 2006

Egypt or One Body?

Thursday, Mary 30, 2006 -- Week of 4 Lent

Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117

An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at
Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site at this link --

Today's Readings for the Daily Office
(p. 955)
Psalms 69:1-23(24-30)31-38 // 73
Exodus 1:6-22 1 Corinthians 12:12-26 Mark 8:27 - 9:1

Egypt or One Body?

"Now a new king arose over Egypt who did not know Joseph." Those words signal a tragic shift of relationships. When Pharaoh no longer has a personal relationship with the Hebrew people, he begins to think of them abstractly, as less than personal. They are "those others" or "the immigrants" or "workers." It's a small step from valued-friends to things-to-be-manipulated. Power tends to corrupt. Power tends to abuse the weak. Today we read about life in Egypt.

Read it as a metaphor. Egypt is all around us. Egypt is where work demands are oppressive. Egypt is where people are treated like things. Egypt is where money and power are the driving forces. Egypt kills the future possibilities for the poor and weak.

God is determined to get people out of Egypt.

Paul offers a vision of God's way. We are all one body. If any part of the body hurts, the whole body hurts. Every part of the body is needed and respected. There is special respect given for the weaker parts of the body or for those that are thought of as less honorable. The body gives special preference to them to protect and convey value to them.

So much of the wisdom of the bible is more descriptive than prescriptive. These passages are both. They describe conflicting ways of being in the world. God works with us to dismantle one way of being, life in Egypt. God invites us into another way of being, life in the one body.

Most of us grow up getting used to life in Egypt. That's just the way it is. We're taught the rules of Egypt. Compete. Acquire. Get the symbols of power and prestige. Don't worry about the poor or weak. Enough will trickle down to them. Besides, if they were as good as you they would be competing and acquiring successfully too.

But that's not the voice that God listens to. And that's not the path to happiness. So many who have lived in Egypt find themselves enslaved by Egypt. Sixty and eighty hour work weeks. More to do than they can do. Debt and maintenance -- their possessions actually posses them. They grow accustomed to their lifestyle. To give it up would be too expensive. So entertainment and diversions provide moments of escape. But power and possessions ultimately do not satisfy.

Jesus says today in Mark's gospel, "Those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life?"

For many of us, to lose our life is to turn our back on Egypt and head toward an unknown wilderness. The promised land on the other side is a whole different existence. We are one body. One world. All of us interconnected. All of us belong to each other. When we care for any, we care for the whole. We care.



At 12:15 PM, Blogger jencole said...

I love how you say to think of the reading as a mediphor... this helps me allot in Bible study . Simplifies things for me and realy aplies more to my daily living much more this way so i aply it to the moment in life. It realy seems to make me feel more closely conected to the scripture.

at our home, live well under poverty leval yet we now have a great home (possably it has us do to morgange and yet possbly we share eachother). It dose seem the further we get the more needs there are to meet never leaving extra monetaraly. For instance Clay starting a bussness required new insurance payments. We hope someday to give as much as we have recived.
However we try also to think of the spiritual gifts we can share, like helping rescue dogs. Seems meagar to some then again to some and to us, priceless (not every one thinks feels the same or has the same gifts). We don't have moneys to share with less fortunate, but we foster/help heal/nurture/ and share love with a dog in need and place them in loving homes. I feel that is our way of giving back/sharing God's spirit. Maybe we let the dogs (one at a time lol) out of "Egypt".


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