2023 Week 3: 17th September


[Exodus 14]  You can go with the joy of the vulnerable and oppressed, or be horrified with the company of the oppressors, that Nature  – not unexpectedly – rebounds on communities of injustice, and such action is seen in this Bible book as expressing God’s justified decisiveness. Disaster  ‘at the hands of nature’  [ Psalm 114]  is indiscriminate, though the Red Sea story is exceptional in that the most suffering community got away…. by taking notice of the signs they were given.  The triumphant  song of Miriam  [ Exodus 15] is that of a woman (and her community) freed from unjust suffering. Under what circumstances would a Christian church share such rejoicing at the suffering of enemies?   Joseph, [Gen 50] the gifted survivor, (though also Pharoah’s enslaver, in the meantime, (Gen 47:35) of the Egyptian people) finds he is liberated by faith and love to put distance between his own hurt and the common good. Where do we find such ‘maturity’ in our own lives?  Paul (Rom 14) in a clearly opinionated fashion introduces the challenge of finding common purpose in a community of diverse lifestyles: difference need not imply conflict or incompatibility. And the  clear global call to “eat less meat” [ https://unfccc.int/blog/we-need-to-talk-about-meat  ] is a stimulating starting-point. Matthew 18 continues guidance on  the  moral quality of a church and reflection – apposite for every community in the Global North- on what our nations  may have ‘got away with’ at the expense of  ‘loss and damage’ to our global neighbours, on whose graciousness we will increasingly find we rely.