Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Sub-version! Part I

Another excellent and timely sermon from our prophet/pastor, Cindy. Text - Exodus 1:18 - 2:10

Read it and weep.

The king is in his castle. The queen is on her throne. The president is in his office. The congress is in session. The corporate chair is in the boardroom.

And so begins the royal story, as Walter Brueggemann calls it, the story that shapes and dominates our culture…The story that shapes and dominates and often defines our reality.

Global warming? Nuclear war? Healthcare? Endangered animals? Re-instatement of the draft? The cost of gasoline? The cost of milk? The answer to these questions, indeed often the questions themselves are shaped by the royal consciousness, revealed through the royal story.

We are children of the royal consciousness,” says Brueggemann. “All of us, in one way or another, have deep commitments to it” (The Prophetic Imagination).

we live in a world phony down deep

in which we participate at a slant.

Ours is a seduced world,

where we call evil good and good evil,

where we put darkness for light and light for darkness,

where we call bitter sweet and sweet bitter

where we call war peace and peace war,

so that we rarely see the truth of the matter.

(Brueggemann, Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth)

Which is why so many Americans were initially supportive when our nation invaded Iraq. The powers deceived us well, showed us authoritative pictures, Colin Powell dressed in all of his military finery with all of his military doodads. And we, as Americans, swallowed what they wanted us to swallow. The royal version of the story. Weapons of mass destruction…

This morning’s scripture reading begins with a similar royal story…Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. Already it sounds familiar, as we are introduced to this new king who did not know Joseph, this new king who ignored or refused to learn the lessons that history, heeded, could have passed down, this new king who saw the Israelite people, who had once been friend, now as foe, as threat.

Notice, the new king based this presumption, not on fact, for they had not yet become threat, but on fear: 10Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, or they will increase and, in the event of war, join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land. They have not yet joined the king’s enemies, but they might. In the event of war, they might. They have not yet used weapons of mass destruction, but they might. 11Therefore they set taskmasters over them to oppress them with forced labor. They built supply cities, Pithom and Rameses, for Pharaoh.

Notice, the new king’s expressed fears, that the Israelite people would join the other side should there be a war, just happened to coincide with great financial opportunity. The new king was able to use the Israelites to build supply cities, that is, great cities where his own goods, where his own wealth could be stored. And so we see that the decrees of the new king were based, not solely fear, after all, but also, and maybe even more so, on greed.

And we are reminded, perhaps, of the many times that we have heard it said that if Iraq simply owned 15% of the world’s olive oil reserves, that the US would not have invaded it.

12But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread, so that the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites.

The more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread, so that the Americans came to dread the terrorists, I mean, the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites.

And we see that the royal story, the story that dominates, the story that controls, the story that shapes our lives on a daily basis, the story based on deceit and fear and greed, is a story that has not changed much down through the ages.


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