If there’s anything we should be crystal clear about as children of God, it’s that God is not down with oppression. Period. Billions of people, including myself, claim to know and to worship God. So, why is it so hard for us not to oppress each other?!
This question came rushing to mind as we heard from Imam Adbur’Rauf last week here at St. Tim’s. Toward the conclusion of his talk, he shared that living out his faith in public has become more and more difficult. At one time, he enjoyed praying in the local parks in Albuquerque. Now, it is not unusual for him and other Muslims in our city who choose to pray in public to have things thrown at them. Or, they are on the receiving end of venomous shouts from passersby. Imam Abdur’Rauf finds himself in a struggle to explain his life of faith, one marked by peace and an insistence upon loving God and serving his neighbor.
This Sunday we join the biblical story in the book of Exodus. We plunge into the lives of the oppressed Hebrew people. We mourn the “10th plague,” the devastating act through which Pharaoh finally loosened (for a moment) his genocidal grip. God liberates. God frees. God delivers. Billions of us claim to know this God. Why does freedom from oppression continue to be so hard for us?
I have no easy answers. What I do know is that in order for me to look at my neighbors with unreserved love, a desire for their freedom as children of God, and a hope for all humanity, I need God to intervene decisively. Thanks be to God, that’s what the Lord does…over and over again. It might just happen this Sunday. Are you ready?