Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Another Biblical Paradigm

The Bible offers us a rich tapestry of stories which continue to connect with our own search for meaning in life. Yesterday I reflected on the meaning of the Exile for exploring a theology of homelessness. Today I would like to touch upon an even larger theme - the Exodus. This pivotal salvation story of Israelite historical memory, which portrays a transition from bondage to freedom, has also become a meaningful theme in Christianity.

The well-known words to the hymn Amazing Grace speak not only of a spiritual awakening but, set against the background of a struggle against the slave trade, also proclaim the reality of God's salvation for the oppressed. The Exodus recollects the concrete liberation of a people suffering slavery in a foreign land. What might this say to us today about the ongoing battle against human trafficking? Where is God for someone who is being held captive against their will?

Of course, the theme of liberation also speaks meaningfully to a range of other contemporary social issues. For example, we would also seek liberation for people held captive by addictions or trapped in abusive relationships. The scriptures call us to persevere in the face of seeming hopelessness, reminding us that the God in whom we trust is the same God that rescued a community of slaves out of Egypt.

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