Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Let my people go, so that they may celebrate a festival to me in the wilderness.’“
We know the story. The people had been taken away, held in slavery. And now, God is insisting: “Let my people go.” The truth is, it probably wasn’t slavery as we think about it. There were probably not prison bars or shackles or anything of the like. Their slavery may have resembled more of an indentured servant or perhaps an economic enslavement. They could not leave, of course, but not because they were held but because they were bound. It was just as bad and in some cases, it is harder to claim release.
So God screams, “Let my people go.” The truth is, maybe God wasn’t worried about the economic enslavement at all. Because, you see, they had been there awhile, a couple of generations if you’re counting. And as generations go on, we forget, we forget who we are. It would have been so incredibly easy to lapse into the Egyptian society. It wasn’t bad. In fact, it would have been easier to do just that. But it wasn’t who they were. Somehow, I think God’s concern was not that they were economically enslaved but that they had forgotten who they were. In God’s vision, the wilderness, the place where darkness loomed, was better than the place of safety that enslaved the people.
SO, does this sound familiar? We are not enslaved. We are, however, bound. We are bound by our lifestyle, by what our life expects us to be. We are bound by the expectations of others. We are bound by our plans for what our life holds. We are bound by what we think we are supposed to be in this world. We, too, have forgotten who we are. And, just as God did so long ago, the Divine screams into the night, “Let my people go.” We are not enslaved in the usual sense. There are no prison bars and no shackles. But we are enslaved. This season of Lent is God’s time, God’s time to scream “let my people go,” and be heard. And even the wilderness is better than what we have.
The wilderness is calling. The place where we are not bound, where we can finally learn to be free, where danger meets us and we know that rather turn to the ones who enslave us, who offer no help in the wilderness, we will finally look to God. Let us be the ones who finally, once and for all, know that we are offered freedom, freedom, mostly, not from whom holds us, but from the one who we are not. Let us be the people who, finally, go and be the one that we are meant to be.
I think most of the spiritual life is really a matter of relaxing — letting go, ceasing to cling, ceasing to insist on our own way, ceasing to tense ourselves up for this or against that. (Beatrice Bruteau)
FOR TODAY: In what ways are you enslaved? What would it mean to be let go? God is waiting to do that.
Grace and Peace,