Exodus and transfiguration

Daily Reading for February 3 • The Last Sunday After the Epiphany

Consider one of the central symbols of the Bible: the exodus from Egypt. It recurs again and again in both the Old and New Testaments. At first the symbol may work on us by inviting us to explore in prayer the implications of the historic event itself. The event reveals God as the One who takes up the cause of the defenseless, the exiled and oppressed. God does not soothe the oppressed with promises of heaven, but wants their freedom in this life. In our meditation on the Exodus event we find ourselves challenged: do we really look to God as liberator? Do we hear God saying today to those who hold their fellow human beings in various kinds of political, social and economic bondage, “Let my people go”? Where do we stand with regard to the oppression perpetrated by the powerful of our own day?

The symbol may then have another effect on us. It is used in the New Testament to interpret redemption, the liberation which Christ achieved through the cross. Luke represents Moses and Elijah at the Transfiguration speaking of “the exodus which [Jesus] was to accomplish at Jerusalem.” In meditation on the theme of redemption we find our hearts searched and tested. What do we believe Christ has done for us? What was the slavery we were powerless to escape from? What did Christ do to set us free? Do we in reality look to him as our liberator and rescuer? As we explore for ourselves what it is we have been emancipated from, what kind of promised land is now ours to enter, our meditation begins to turn into praise of Christ.

From The Word is Very Near You: A Guide to Praying with Scripture by Martin L. Smith (Cowley Publications, 1989).

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