What did you learn last night?
The biblical Exodus story teaches us that leaving oppression and moving toward freedom is a process, not a single one-time event. After all, it took the Israelites 40 years to reach the Promised Land when, in theory, it should have only taken days, or weeks at the very most.
Who of us haven’t struggled through trial and tribulation as we searched for what we thought we needed or wanted? Who of us hasn’t ever bounced from one interest, hobby or passion to another? Who of us has always been sure of what was most important at any given point of time? Who of us has never struggled to keep private or professional relationships on an even keel?
Despite having witnessed the plagues and the parting of the sea which enabled the Israelites to flee their enslavement, they lost sense of who they were, where they were going and even why they had left to begin with.
As a society, it is our responsibility to model a ‘Promised Land’, one to the other. Are the relationships in our families, synagogues, churches, mosques, schools and communal and government organisations based on mutuality, respect and equality? Do we properly share power across gender, race and age?
Too many people are still neglected or mistreated in our society. Too many women and children are abused. So too are men, the disabled and, of course, those in the LGBITQ community.
It is them/us who are currently wandering in the wilderness; their/our minds and souls shrivelled by oppression. Is our society offering real support, manna, or do we set up stumbling blocks?
It’s up to each of us to decide that we can and must be the manna to sustain those who so desperately need it.
The point of Exodus story is for each of us to feel ‘as though we ourselves came out of Egypt’ so let’s do just that. Let’s feel the story’s inherent emotions in the context of our lives and in this moment in history. Feel the betrayal, the threat, the terror, the disorientation. Feel burdened. But also feel the relief that comes from being liberated and not being alone in the world.
Being manna/sustenance in the wilderness for the abused and disenfranchised means that we have to be willing to empathise with those walking in their wilderness. Can you imagine the betrayal, the threats, the terror and the disorientation? If you haven’t actually experienced struggle or confusion, can you imagine it? Can you even begin to understand how dry and deathly that place is?
Because I believe in a God Who stands with the oppressed, Who hears their/our cries but Who moves in human history through people committed to end oppression, establish justice and hold those who abuse power accountable, I believe that we are each called to be the manna to those who are abused and oppressed.
~ Kathy Kaplan
Leaving an abusive relationship is like the Passover Story: it's a process not a single one time event