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Editor’s note: This Lent season, Bread Blog is running a series of devotionals written by staff, alumni, and friends of the San Francisco Theological Seminary, which is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A).
By Rev. Yolanda M. Norton
At the end of Genesis, the Israelites are in Egypt because of a famine in Israel. Despite the harsh conditions that brought Israel to Egypt, it was an Israelite – Joseph – who found a solution for how Egypt could sustain itself in the midst of the same famine. At the end of Genesis, it seemed like Israel and Egypt had found a way to live together. Yet when Exodus begins, a leader has risen to power that does not know or does not care about the nation’s history. Pharaoh, content with expanding his power, demonstrates his ignorance, his hubris, and his determination to create a system of oppression. He commands that innocent Israelite boys be brutally killed at birth.
It seems that in every era there are those who come to power with an intention to compromise the integrity of community and snuff out the life of innocents. In every age there are those who are ordered to build and do more with less, and expected to live in inhumane conditions.
In Exodus 1:8-20, in the face of a command for genocide it is not some superhuman, larger-than-life character that preserves life. Instead Shiphrah and Puah, two midwives, decide that their calling to usher life into the world is greater than pharaoh’s imperative for death. In these difficult times we, too, must remember that God is calling ordinary people to do extraordinary things to counteract the reach of empire. We cannot wait for a messiah to save us from imperial abuse. Some environments simply require individuals to be courageous and prudent in the midst of their everyday lives and trust that God will care for us.
Rev. Yolanda M. Norton is assistant professor of Old Testament at San Francisco Theological Seminary.
We cannot wait for a messiah to save us from imperial abuse.
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Famine has been declared in two counties of South Sudan, while other areas of South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia, and...
A brief examination of the biblical approach to health as a hunger issue.
Includes an introduction to the issue, a Scriptural reflection, practical actions you can take, and a prayer.
In this issue: Another Great Year for Bread; Catholics Begin Observance of Holy Year of Mercy; Serving on ‘God’s Wave Length’ for 39 Years; and more.
A wide array of the nation’s faith leaders have come together on the eve of Pope Francis’ arrival in the United States to commit ourselves to encourage our communities to work for the end of hunger by 2030 and, toward that end, for a shift in U.S. national priorities.
We are deeply pleased...
A set of how-to sheets for carrying out advocacy and fact sheets on the current issues Bread for the World is working on.
For new and current Bread grassroots hunger activists.
Ideal as a starter toolkit for new Bread activists or as a set of updates for current activists.
Over the past year and a half, about two-dozen young adults from the United States and countries in Africa and the Caribbean, have gathered virtually and in person to reflect on the effects of hunger and poverty in black communities. The working group has been considering socio-political and...
Legislation under consideration in the House and Senate would gut...