Moses the Showman

I just love the story of Moses, on so many levels. It is amazing all the things God does to position someone who can learn the leadership skills necessary to lead a people out of bondage. One born and who lived his whole life in slavery wouldn’t be able to pull it off. And an Egyptian certainly wasn’t going to do it. So it had to be an Israelite raised as an Egyptian. But then he had to be gotten out of that comfort zone and into a place where he could ponder things more deeply.

But Saturday evening, at Easter Vigil, for the first time in hearing this story after hearing it so many, many times, I saw Moses the showman. When he and the people he has led out of Egypt come to a body of water and they begin to go ballistic when they see the Egyptians coming to drag them back, Moses doesn’t say “Calm down, I know this territory. I’ve wandered in it since I fled after killing that slave driver, and I know that this time of year, at the full moon there is a really low low-tide and a strong wind that opens a strand that we can walk across. And when the tide comes back in, the Egyptians won’t be able to get across.” No, he just says, “Watch this” and he sticks out his walking stick as the tide goes out, as if he is causing it to happen. He might well have learned this showmanship from the very magicians that he had bested in his pleadings with Pharaoh. He probably knew them from his time in the Egyptian court.

Is it any less miraculous that it could have happened this way; that water didn’t stand up like walls? Not to me, not to one who tries to see the miraculous taking place through ordinary events. It was miraculous that Moses was formed into the man he was with the requisite presence and leadership skills. It was miraculous that he has such knowledge of the hatching of flies and frogs in the springtime in the mud of the Nile basin. And his timing of the departure from Egypt so as to reach the Sea of Reeds at just the right moment to be able to get everyone across was truly miracle of miracles. And the showmanship? Necessary I would say to establish and maintain his charisma. And miraculous that he knew that too.

“A hundred thousand miracles are happening every day.” Rogers and Hammerstein, Flower Drum Song.

Oh Lord, open our eyes to the miracles all around us.

Ron Hicks, Parish Verger, St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, 22-April-2014

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1 Response to Moses the Showman

  1. Beatrice Meyerson says:

    My father, the grandson of a geologist who studied the ice age and taught “the harmony of science and religion” at Oberlin College, used to quote his grandfather’s definition of a miracle as “a perfectly natural phenomenon occurring at a peculiarly opportune time.” I have always thought that was a great definition, and what an advantage for those who knew and could predict or anticipate natural occurrences. B. Meyerson

    On Tue, Apr 22, 2014 at 4:52 PM, The Daily Cup

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