Bible I: A Drama in Three Acts, Part 1

We begin with a look at the theme of Exodus, and Michael shares thoughts from a few of his favourite authors. Here are the readings and quotes shared:

Ephesians 1.15: For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I’ve not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious One, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know God better.

Walter Bruggemann, The Prophetic Imagination: “The program of Moses is not the freeing of a little band of slaves as an escape from the empire, though that is important enough, especially if you happen to be that little band. Rather, his work is nothing less than an assault on the consciousness of the empire, aimed at nothing less than dismantling the empire both in its social practices and its mythic pretensions. Israel emerged…as a genuine alternative community” (p. 18-19).

A classic version of “lost in translation.” St. Jerome, who gave us the Latin translation of the Bible, rendered the somewhat ambiguous word for “ray of light” into horn. In other words, he gave a literal rather than metaphorical treatment to the word. Centuries later, Renaissance artists like Michelangelo carried the mistake forward. (my photo)

Gustavo Gutierrez, Essential Writings: “Behind these texts we can see [the] principal reasons for this vigorous repudiation of poverty. In the first place, poverty contradicts the very meaning of the Mosaic religion. Moses led his people out of slavery, exploitation, and alienation of Egypt so that they might inhabit a land where they could live with human dignity” (p. 8).  

Rosemary Radford Ruether, Woman-Church: “In the story of the Exodus we find that the first acts of rebellion against Pharaoh are those of women. The mother of Moses refuses to obey the decree to kill her newborn son and hides him in the bulrushes. The sister of Moses seizes the opportunity to save him by presenting him to the daughter of Pharaoh who comes to the river to bathe. Pharaoh’s daughter also disobeys by accepting the Hebrew child and bringing him up as her own. Thus a conspiracy of women takes place across class and ethnic lines to save the child who will be the liberator of Israel” (p. 43-44).

Exodus 2.23-25: The Israelites groaned under their slavery, and cried out. Out of the slavery, their cry for help rose up to God. God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God looked upon the Israelites, and God took notice of them.

Special thanks to Heather Maclean, who played the tune HOLY MANNA, an American folk hymn composed by William Moore (1790-1850).