The Bible in GIFs: Exodus 3-4

Moses settled in the land of Midian, and sat down by a well. The priest of Midian had seven daughters.

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They came to draw water, and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. But some shepherds came and drove them away.

run away monty python

Moses got up and came to their defence

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and watered their flock. When they returned to their father Reuel, he said, ‘How is it that you have come back so soon today?’ They said, ‘An Egyptian helped us against the shepherds; he even drew water for us and watered the flock.’ He said to his daughters, ‘Where is he? Why did you leave the man? Invite him to break bread.’

sparkling cider

Moses agreed to stay with the man, and he gave Moses his daughter Zipporah in marriage. She bore a son, and he named him Gershom; for he said, ‘I have been an alien residing in a foreign land.’

et-elliot-on-bicycle-oGershom is Hebrew for ET.

After a long time the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned under their slavery, and cried out. Out of the slavery their cry for help rose up to God. God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

joey remembers

 

On Emanuel

Emanuel AME was a church that nurtured Black leaders and resisters, that protested segregation and racist policing, whose denominational family was born out of the rejection of the racism of others (including my own) and which never forgot that spiritual nourishment and community are the foundation for these world changing acts. They have never forgotten that Jesus called us to enter a new kind of Kingdom, and not just to save ourselves.

In the wake of this horrific crime every American, every Christian, and every white person owes the nine who were killed a searching of their hearts for how we are or are not combatting the wicked forces of racism that caused their deaths. Have you heard the kinds of jokes Dylann Roof regularly made before he turned to murder, and ignored them? Have you watched as politicians made the same false generalizations about supposed Black criminality as he did, and let them keep their offices? I’m ashamed to say I have, and in those moments failed the God that Emanuel served.

This tragedy is a profound failure of society as well as this man – otherwise, the flag of pro-slavery rebellion would not still fly next to South Carolina’s state house even as we speak the names of that state’s dead citizens. Otherwise, it would not have taken hours for media outlets to report the race and racist statements of the shooter. Otherwise we would universally see this for what it is, an act of terror.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the five year old girl who survived the shooting by playing dead. How did she know to do that? Was it because she had heard stories of four little Black girls murdered in church fifty years before? What stories had they heard of their uncles or cousins or friends lynched for resistance twenty years prior? What stories had those men carried of their ancestors who fought for freedom in the Civil War only to never receive the pay and protection they were promised? And those before them who were forcibly enslaved?

Enough is enough, but enough has also been enough, for too long, for half a millennium now, and we have continued to fail God, one another, and especially Black people in our country’s continued complacency. Racism is evil. Black lives matter. And it’s past time for every single one of us, especially those of us who are white and most able to pretend it’s not real, to be doing something about it.

Lord, in your mercy hear our prayer for the lives lost, and that our lives still here may be transformed to honor them.

A Prayer for the Addicts

For all those who feel held captive:

by alcohol, by drugs, by food, by sex, by the internet, by shopping, by anything whose call on your attention is more powerful than the call to health, wholeness, and relationship

You are surrounded by prayer

You are beloved, and you are enough, and the holes you are trying to fill are no bigger than those of your so-together-seeming neighbor  (and no more likely to be filled by objects)

The powerlessness you feel is no reason to be ashamed, but a place from which we all, eventually, need to ask for help

It is never too late

Hope is real, recovery happens, relapses are not always the end of the story

And even in the midst of times when we feel run by urges we do not understand, beholden to appetites we know are not life giving, we are loved deeply

The story isn’t over. You are more than your felt needs. You are worthy, no matter what.

We pray you would find in yourself the possibilities God see in you – and be able to look yourself full in the face without mediation, distraction, or numbing

It doesn’t have to be this way. It won’t always be. And if it is, God will still be with you through all of it.

A Prayer for the Bored

For all those whose minds are restless

Blank slates searching for words of meaning to fill them

Idle hands searching for distraction to occupy them

Struggling with not needing, not being needed, not having something, ANYTHING to do

Angry, disinterested, neutral, or lonely

We pray that you would find a way to live into not doing, but being, not acting, but feeling.

Sit with yourself, and be satisifed. You are good. You are enough. You don’t need anything else to live and be joyful.

Find the things of interest lying in your own heart and mind, your own reflections on the state of the world. Think of others. Love them Pray for them.

We pray that you would find meaning where you need it, activity where it is satisfying, friendship and curiosity and wonder in the infinite places where they are.

But for now, in your boredom, we pray that you would remember that nothing lasts forever. That there is always more. That the seed of intention in your heart for the world would be fed by the next thing to come your way, and provoke a question that begets a practice that nourishes a love, leading you on towards a world where interest and meaning are easy – but where you are never afraid to do nothing, because in times of rest you have no fear of who you are.

The Bible in GIFS: Exodus 2

Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a Levite woman.The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was a fine baby, she hid him for three months.

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When she could hide him no longer she got a papyrus basket for him, and plastered it with bitumen and pitch; she put the child in it and placed it among the reeds on the bank of the river. His sister stood at a distance, to see what would happen to him.

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The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her attendants walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to bring it. When she opened it, she saw the child. He was crying, and she took pity on him.

aww

‘This must be one of the Hebrews’ children,’ she said. Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, ‘Shall I go and get you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?’ Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, ‘Yes.’ So the girl went and called the child’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, ‘Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give you your wages.’

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So the woman took the child and nursed it. When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and she took him as her son. She named him Moses, ‘because’, she said, ‘I drew him out of the water.’One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to his people and saw their forced labour. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his kinsfolk. He looked this way and that,

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and seeing no one he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.

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When he went out the next day, he saw two Hebrews fighting; and he said to the one who was in the wrong, ‘Why do you strike your fellow Hebrew?’ He answered, ‘Who made you a ruler and judge over us? Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?’ Then Moses was afraid and thought, ‘Surely the thing is known.’

now-they-know

When Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh.

run-away

The Bible in GIFs: Exodus 1

Now,

i-need-a-previously-onUGH, FINE.

These are the names of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt with Jacob, each with his household: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin, Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher.The total number of people born to Jacob was seventy.

hiddleston-counting

Joseph was already in Egypt. Then Joseph died, and all his brothers, and that whole generation. But the Israelites were fruitful and prolific; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong, so that the land was filled with them. Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.  who-is-he-fresh-prince

He said to his people, ‘Look, the Israelite people are more numerous and more powerful than we. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, or they will increase and, in the event of war, join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.’ Therefore they set taskmasters over them to oppress them with forced labour.

people-are-awful

They built supply cities, Pithom and Rameses, for Pharaoh. But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread, so that the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites. The Egyptians became ruthless in imposing tasks on the Israelites, and made their lives bitter with hard service in mortar and brick and in every kind of field labour. They were ruthless in all the tasks that they imposed on them.

no-no

The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, ‘When you act as midwives to the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, she shall live.’

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But the midwives feared God; they did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but they let the boys live. So the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and said to them, ‘Why have you done this, and allowed the boys to live?’ The midwives said to Pharaoh, ‘Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women; for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them.’

dont-know-girl-at-a-loss

So God dealt well with the midwives; and the people multiplied and became very strong. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families. Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, ‘Every boy that is born to the Hebrews you shall throw into the Nile, but you shall let every girl live.’

The Bible in GIFS: Genesis 50

Then he charged them, saying to them, “I am about to be gathered to my people.

dying

Bury me with my ancestors—in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite, in the cave in the field at Machpelah, near Mamre, in the land of Canaan, in the field that Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite as a burial site. There Abraham and his wife Sarah were buried; there Isaac and his wife Rebekah were buried; and there I buried Leah— the field and the cave that is in it were purchased from the Hittites.” When Jacob ended his charge to his sons, he drew up his feet into the bed, breathed his last,

marley-dying

and was gathered to his people. Then Joseph threw himself on his father’s face and wept over him and kissed him. Joseph commanded the physicians in his service to embalm his father. So the physicians embalmed Israel; they spent forty days in doing this, for that is the time required for embalming.

learn-funeral-business

And the Egyptians wept for him seventy days. When the days of weeping for him were past, Joseph addressed the household of Pharaoh, “If now I have found favor with you, please speak to Pharaoh as follows: My father made me swear an oath; he said, ‘I am about to die. In the tomb that I hewed out for myself in the land of Canaan, there you shall bury me.’ Now therefore let me go up, so that I may bury my father; then I will return.” Pharaoh answered, “Go up, and bury your father, as he made you swear to do.” So Joseph went up to bury his father…

funeral-grief

After he had buried his father, Joseph returned to Egypt with his brothers and all who had gone up with him to bury his father. Realizing that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers said, “What if Joseph still bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong that we did to him?” So they approached Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this instruction before he died, ‘Say to Joseph: I beg you, forgive the crime of your brothers and the wrong they did in harming you.’

people-make-mistakes

Now therefore please forgive the crime of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. Then his brothers also wept, fell down before him, and said, “We are here as your slaves.” But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today. So have no fear; I myself will provide for you and your little ones.” In this way he reassured them, speaking kindly to them.

forgiven-completely

So Joseph remained in Egypt, he and his father’s household; and Joseph lived one hundred ten years. Joseph saw Ephraim’s children of the third generation; the children of Machir son of Manasseh were also born on Joseph’s knees. Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die; but God will surely come to you, and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” So Joseph made the Israelites swear, saying, “When God comes to you, you shall carry up my bones from here.” And Joseph died, being one hundred ten years old; he was embalmed and placed in a coffin in Egypt.

egypt-coffin