Day 1 Confession
Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Let my people go, so that they may celebrate a festival to me in the wilderness.’” But Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should heed him and let Israel go?” Then they said, “The God of the Hebrews has revealed himself to us; let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness to sacrifice to the Lord our God, or he will fall upon us with pestilence or sword.” But the king of Egypt said to them, “Moses and Aaron, why are you taking the people away from their work? Get to your labors! Pharaoh continued, “Now they are more numerous than the people of the land and yet you want them to stop working!” That same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people, as well as their supervisors, “You shall no longer make bricks, as before; let them go and gather straw for themselves. But you shall require of them the same quantity of bricks as they have made previously; do not diminish it, for they are lazy; that is why they cry, ‘Let us go and offer sacrifice to our God.’ Let heavier work be laid on them; then they will labor at it and pay no attention to deceptive words.”
-Exodus 5: 1-9
Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let us go out to the field.” And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel, and killed him. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” And the Lord said, “What have you done? Listen; your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground!...
-Genesis 4: 8 – 10
Today we embark on a sacred journey, bound together by our Creator and a common vocation of working to bring Shalom into our world. As we prepare for what our minds, hearts, and bodies will encounter today we remember the plight of Moses who went to Pharaoh and demanded that he liberate the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. After this first encounter between Moses and Pharaoh, the people experience no relief, only more brutal work and scrutiny from taskmasters. In our own country, we recognize and remember the ways in which scrutiny, judgment, and brutality have increased as oppressed, enslaved, and marginalized people have fought for justice. The story is as old as Hebrew scripture and yet as fresh as yesterday’s Facebook feed. Standing in the tension of past and present we often ask ourselves: How could this be?
As spiritual pilgrims we are attune to what is in the ground as we move our feet – step by step – from holy place to holy place. Standing on the same dirt, looking at the same trees, remembering those who have gone before us, certainly we experience the words of God spoken to Cain: “What have you done? Listen; your brother’s blood is crying out …from the ground!”
Marking the beginning of this spiritual journey, consider the following as a jumping off point for your own personal reflection.
Which words, images, or feelings do you resonate with in these pieces of scripture? Which make you uncomfortable?
What do you know of blood crying out from the ground?
How did this happen? How is this possible? How could this be? How did we get here as a people? How did you get here as an individual? What were the forces at play in your own history that led you to where you are today with your own racial awareness?
The Awakening Series seeks to engage the intersections of culture and faith, particularly around areas of injustice and moral responsibility. Through faith formation opportunities that address issues of our daily lives, we are working to create shalom (wholeness, equity, justice, and peace) for all.