As summer is soon upon us, smiles are coming across many a face as plans are made and memories arise regarding a #1 favorite activity: travel. When it’s traveling we want rather than have to do, there is probably nothing more exciting and nothing that generates more choice stories to share with others. In our family, that’s our go-to topic of happy conversation: the trips we’ve taken together.
And, despite all the beautiful times encountering beautiful scenery and beautiful people that our traveling experiences have brought us, the stories our family most enjoys regaling BY FAR are the ones where things don’t go right, all sorts of subsequent chaos and confusion make us miserable (and miserable to one another), we aren’t sure we were going to make it but somehow we do. Ha ha ha ha we LOVE remembering those times especially! Perhaps that’s the same for you.
For example, there was the Saturday morning when, in my 20’s and living in Chicago, my roommate (like a sister) and I had big plans to fly to New York City to catch a taping of Saturday Night Live (big stuff!) and my blood sister (who lived down the street) was tasked with driving us to the airport. When I awoke with a start that Saturday there was but an hour before the plane was to leave. What in the world had happened to my alarm that I was positive I had set? I ran into my roommate's room screaming to get up! For some reason her alarm hadn’t gone off, either! AND WHERE IN THE WORLD WAS MY #$%&! SISTER?????
I screamed all the way to O’Hare, mostly at my chauffeuring sister (she was the easiest target). We got there, tore over to the ticket counter, but it was too late. We got on the next flight, however. Whew! We’d get to NYC in time and wouldn’t miss the show.
Once in the air my roomie and I exhaled and loudly laughed about how ridiculous this morning had been. We laughed at how our loud laughter must be irritating the passengers around us. Oh well! Then my roommate noted I still had on my face the pale, crusty medicine I always applied every night to help keep acne away. I looked like a cross between a clown and Neely O’Hara at the end of Valley of the Dolls. This is what everyone got to look at as I screamed, wailed, pleaded and annoyingly laughed. Ha ha ha ha ha! Telling that story now bonds the three of us still – Ha ha ha ha ha!
This is the spirit in which I believe the most precious, sacred, journey in the whole of the Bible is to be understood and enjoyed. “The Exodus” is the story of God’s liberating the Hebrew slaves from Egypt and leading them across the wilderness into the Promised Land, flowing with Milk and Honey. And as it unfolds in the Bible, it engenders all sorts of community-building laughter because at every turn there are mistakes, misery, chaos, despair... and a new leg of the trail. Ha ha ha ha it was the worst of times! And the best of times….
Right off the bat the trip gets off on a weird, chaotic foot. We’re told throughout Exodus 1-2 that the Hebrew slaves are undergoing much trauma at the hand of their horrible Egyptian masters, including the murder or attempted murder of the former’s infant sons. Fortunately, many a lady (both Hebrew and Egyptian) are, with cleverness and compassion, sparing at least some of the male children (including Moses). God, however, is nowhere to be found.
But then, we're told at Exodus 2:24-25, whew, that when the slaves cry out and groan to God re their plight, God “hears their groaning and…remembers his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and…takes notice of them.” (2:24-25). Whaaat?
Was God fast asleep? So old or spacey to be that forgetful? Too preoccupied with other things, like what to do about Pluto? Crazy!
And when God gets it together by Chapter 3, there’s the less-than smooth call God makes to Moses from the burning bush. God offers him the greatest opportunity a human could possibly receive -- leading the Chosen People to freedom -- and Moses does nothing but balk: God’s name (and self-definition) are too vague, Moses will never be able to convince the people this weirdly-named God has the stuff to do the job, and besides, he (Moses) doesn’t speak well. God, with “anger kindled” finally says, essentially, “I’m gonna give you everything you need to do a fabulous job guiding my people you….you little….why I outta...aw, just get outta my face before I give you something to cry about!”
And then at 4:24 God tries to gun Moses down and kill him. See the blog on “The Snip Snip that Saved Western Civilization” for the details.
Both God and Moses in this first section of the Exodus trip are, I would suggest, comically portrayed – both are acting in a “low” (undignified, not that godly/heroic) manner. Like we and/or our travel mates in our favorite vacation stories!
And their trip is just beginning. More wacky traveling fun to follow! And more blogs!!