A poem for Passover

“Why is this night different than all others?”

So our Jewish brothers and sisters have been marking the beginning of this week of Passover which began today, for millennia.   Rarely does that celebration coincide with the holiest of weeks in the Christian year, the week leading into Easter, but it is so appropriate that this year it does so.  This is a reminder to those of us who are Christians of how inter-related our faith is with theirs.  It was during Passover week that the events Christians celebrate in the days leading up to Easter occurred.  In fact in most languages other than English, the word for the Christian celebration of Easter and the Jewish celebration of Passover are the same.

It is important to recognize that this night which they celebrate at the beginning of Passover is why our faith is possible.  It is the foundation of who we are — the story of how God unexpectedly chose to side with the oppressed, as yet unknown, family of slaves against the most powerful empire of the day, showing that the God who is (“I AM”) is the one who sets free the captive, the slave, and the oppressed.  That story which is remembered every Passover night by our Jewish brothers and sisters  is the foundation for the faith we Christians share too, linking Christians, Jews, and Muslims in a shared heritage.

On Passover we should remember as Christians that our faith grew out of Judaism with Jesus, the early Christians, and the apostles viewing themselves as faithful Jews.  

As a way of remembering that connection and reflecting on how this powerful story can shape our faith today, I am re-posting a poem I wrote earlier in the year as a reflection on some powerful experiences I’ve witnessed as a pastor and a chaplain.  May it inspire you to reflect on how the God who resists empire, slavery, and bondage on behalf of the oppressed, forgotten, and enslaved continues to call us all to be people of the Exodus today.

And I’m not just whistling Dixie here,

your progressive redneck preacher.

micah pic

== ==

O Come, Deliverer

pharoah

“O come, o come, deliver me,”

cried those under Pharoah’s lash.

Their hearts longed to soar free

with eagle-feathers bright and brash.

Staff raised high, Israel did see,

with mighty ocean crash

the flaming light of liberty

their backs freed from burning lash.

Moses-parting-red-sea

Like waves I hear this cry still roar

echoing in many deserted hall

lined with cots for the homeless poor

abandoned by those called great and tall

whose money moved to distant shores

when profits began to fall.

homeless in jesus arms

“Deliver” echoes still in whispering call

where others lie, victims of a hidden war.

Their broken bodies writhe in withdrawal

from poisons that trap them like iron doors

and wrap their minds in darkling pall.

addiction 1

“Deliver” cries children from other homes

whose minds and bodies lie broken by neglect.

Their hearts bear wounds and scars like broken bones

that will not set but must lay wrecked

uncertain for minds what healing comes.

 

Oh God, who once set Israel free and yet brightens our sky

what light in such shadows can you bring

what freedom shine in their eyes.

“Deliver, Oh deliver,” their stories sing,

and I cannot help but question why

and what shape will we see rise on morning’s wings

in answer to their ceaseless cry.

sunrise freedom

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s