Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Happy Passover, 2012

From the website April 4, 2012
To study the Passover story in depth is to recognize that the most difficult task Moses had to perform was not to get the Jews out of Egypt, but to get Egypt out of the Jews. They had become so habituated to their status as slaves, they lost all hope that they could ever improve their lot.

Without hope they would have been lost.
The true miracle of Passover and its relevance for the ages is the message that with God’s help, no difficulty is insurmountable. A tyrant like Pharaoh could be overthrown. A nation as powerful as Egypt could be defeated. Slaves could become freemen. The oppressed could break the shackles of their captivity. Anything is possible, if only we dare to dream the impossible dream.
Passover is celebrated this week by Jews and Christians everywhere. Eating the Seder and reading the Haggadah, will be instrumental in helping individuals "experience" their own exodus from slavery.
"Getting Egypt out of the Jews" is so intimate and complicated since their accommodation to their status as slaves had become accepted as their lot.
And, today, we examine the slaveries that ensnare each of us...the slavery of fixed expectations, binding our minds and our hearts and especially our imaginations to those models and metaphors and obligations that structure our days, our weeks months and years. And if we start to think of different expectations, we immediately hear an inner voice expressing disdain, "Just who do you think you are that you can contemplate being so different from those of us in your family, or those of us in your neighbourhood, or those of us in your town?" So we retreat into our habits and the expectations that others have of us, wondering if we are enacting our acquiescence in Egypt.
We also examine the slavery of fixed ways of relating: having been hurt, wounded and betrayed in our yesterdays, we invoke those wounds as our witness to that pain, declaring, "Never again!" and withdraw into our cocoon, becoming slaves to our very own history, not the mere memory but the parking in that hurt, and in those wounds and in those pictures as we become spectators of some movie we see playing on the screens of the roads we drive, the aisles in the boxstores we walk, and even  the books that we read.
We examine our slavery to fixed ways of conversing with others, deferential, diplomatic, a little sceptical and often more than a little aloof, because that is the mask that has served for decades to protect us from becoming known and identified and thereby elbowed in the corners where we might find our ideas and beliefs and attitudes colliding with those of the other....
And we examine our slavery to fixed gaze on our accomplishments, as if we had become what we have accomplished, when those 'moments' were mere moments, deserving reflection, gratitude and a small measure of confidence, but really are there to demonstrate that because we have been given much blessing, we are, more importantly, still capable of making a substantial contribution to those whose lives would and could be enriched by our participation. And yet, we tell our selves that we do not know how to ask, "How can I help?" when, in past moments, we hardly took the time to ask, the need was so evident and so crying out, it demanded our compassion, our time and our presence.
And we find that our Egypt and our Pharoah's have changed; we have substituted originals for faux Pharoah's, in our passive resignation, flipped often into passive aggression because we resent our putting limits on the power of God, in order to keep us safe, when, if we were truly honest, we would acknowledge that we are not safer because we try to "fence" God into our comfort zone; we are merely deluding ourselves and those we know and those who know us.
Yet we are never deluding God!
In all the moments of the first exodus, there was no road map and there was no guarantee and there was no assurance that the Jews would make it anywhere, with Moses as their guide and leader.
But it was God who was their real leader, and that makes all the difference.
Even today, that is the only difference that Passover, or at any other time when we take time to reflect on our incarnation of hope and love, in our own lives, and always with God.
May Moses and God lead us out of our many seductive Egypt's, out of the clutches of our self-created Pharoah's, and into a land of promise, with God, whose capacity for both love and courage are limitless, if only we can and will tap into them, as our expression of love and gratitude.
Happy Passover, 2012

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