One who mediates between the Divine and the human is called a priest; in Christendom the title refers to a ranking official who participates in rites of worship. This week, however, we will reflect on the more basic understanding of the priestly role and reflect on Christ as a priest and his followers as a kingdom of priests.
In the sixteenth century, developments in Europe began to change the world, mainly because those developments turned human power toward democracy. Spiritually speaking, though, this did not change anything, for power in the hands of the people or a monarch or even clergy remains power that may oppose God and God’s purposes.
In approaching the Hebrew midwives, Pharaoh naturally assumes these women must serve him and his purposes. But he is mistaken. While Pharaoh works to suppress and oppress a group of subjects, the God of Shiphrah and Puah works quietly to deliver those subjects. In spite of the obvious dangers involved in doing so, the midwives act on faith and are blessed.
Shiphrah and Puah believe deeply in the God of Genesis, so their characters are timelessly written into Exodus. They serve as trailblazers in a very important capacity before Moses ever enters the scene. They stand courageously and compassionately between humans and the Divine. Shiphrah and Puah’s hands mediate life and salvation by delivering the Hebrew male infants Pharaoh would have killed. Equally importantly, their bold actions communicate to Pharaoh that a mightier power exists. The women serve the Hebrews as God-fearing midwives. They serve as priests.
O God, write me into your salvation story today. Let my hands also serve you and your purposes as your kingdom continues to come into the world. Amen.
Genesis now introduces a painful turn in the story of God’s people. The Israelites are forced into slavery; yet amid this dark time, a baby boy, Moses, is born. God has already begun the story of their deliverance. The psalmist recognizes that the Israelites would be overwhelmed and swept away without the help of the Maker of heaven and earth. Paul gives the Romans two specific instructions: First, they should be changed so that they follow God’s ways, not the world’s. Second, they must understand that they all need one another. Each child of God has a part to play in the overall body of Christ. In a famous passage in Matthew, Peter makes the basic Christian confession: Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of God.
Read Exodus 1:8–2:10. How can you serve in a priestly role?
Read Psalm 124. Reflect on the many ways God has blessed you and your community. Consider writing your own song of ascent.
Read Romans 12:1-8. What part of yourself are you holding back from God? How can you bring your whole self to your faith?
Read Matthew 16:13-20. Why do you think it is important to fully understand Christ’s identity before witnessing to Christ’s mission?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
View a growing list of resources for the spiritual work of overcoming racism.