MOSES. It’s easy to forget him at Passover. The Haggadah, official script for the Seder, doesn’t name him. Instead, it focuses on God. Our one true champion.
Pharaoh, on the other hand, plays a huge role. The Seder script begins with a ritual question. “Why is this night different from all other nights?” Then, it continues with a ritual answer. “Because we were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt.” And goes on to name Pharaoh seven more times.
As a result, Seder discussions focus on Pharaoh. It’s easy to name the Pharaohs in our world. They are everywhere. Greedy, murderous, and selfish. Ready for us to die, as long as they profit. Sometimes we hope a kinder Pharaoh will arise. But we are often disappointed. So, we ask, how do we break free? How do we do it ourselves?
But, oddly, we spend less time talking about Moses. Even though, in a world full of Pharaoh, we need a lot of Moses. So, how do we find Moses? What do we look for? Someone who sees injustice. Then, has strong feelings about it. And rushes to act. But is also uncertain. Someone who cares, but might make mistakes. Then, has questions and self-doubt. So, they pray a lot. And learn on the job. They don’t act alone, but with a team. With brothers, sisters, and friends. Often, they call on everyone to work together. To feed, shelter, and love one other.
Yesterday, I saw a lot of Moses. Or, rather, I heard it. On a conference call with 130 religious leaders, BC’s Premier John Horgan, Minister of Health Adrian Dix, and Provincial Medical Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. The topic, of course, was COVID-19.
Religious leaders did most of the talking. They came from many traditions. But they all asked the same questions. How can we feed the hungry? Bring isolated people together? Ensure safe drug supply? Protect our people from on-line hate? Reach those who can’t afford internet? How can our volunteers work together for the good of our multi-faith province?
Provincial leaders listened. Then responded. And never with a “no.” Instead, they said, “We understand.” “Here’s a resource.” “That’s a good idea.” “Our task force will reach out.” “Thank you.”
These 133 people showed how Moses acts. Together, they see, feel, care, act, question. Build teams to feed, shelter, and love one another. Begin to create the world they want to see. The very world that Pharaoh doesn’t want.
But what if your government isn’t like Moses? What if, instead, it’s more like Pharaoh? You know the answer. The harder it is to be a Moses, the more the work is needed.
Image: This 12th century icon shows Moses as an uncertain young man. The world is on fire all around him. But he is ready to step forward.