Exodus is the story of human movement from slavery to a holy mountain. It is a story that is deeply embedded in our faith as generations of faithful people have journeyed from the bondage of exploitation to the holy mountain of covenant. The narrative of Pharaoh is the narrative of empire, where humans are crushed under the heels of power and greed. But the narrative of God is one of abundance and wholeness. And in between the two narratives, lies the wilderness – or Exodus.
Exodus is a summons away from enslavement to scarcity, to the holy mountain of truth and generosity. In this forty-day Lenten Exodus, I find myself immersed in the constant struggle between my experience of life with its enslavements, and my desire for a life that is shaped by trust in God who provides daily everything that is needed.
The cycle of fear and anxiety is tough to escape from when you have lived your entire life under the thumb of scarcity and exploitation. When we are beaten down by poverty or even just worried about where the money is going to come from, wariness and anxiety become a way of life. We become enslaved physically, mentally and emotionally which leads us to illness, suffering and early death. When we believe that having more is the path to happier, safer, and more secure lives, we are paying homage to Pharaoh; but when we learn to rely on God as the one who frees us from the chains of scarcity and leads us into a wilderness of faith, we come to see that God is truly at work in the world, and in our lives, and that scarcity is nothing more than a lie that keeps us enslaved to our own insatiable appetites.
As I journey from the comfortable, but restrictive, environment of enslavement into the uncomfortable but liberating freedom of being a child of God, I pray never to return to the slavery of affliction, but rather that I learn to depend on God who provides what is needed on the holy mountain of trust.