Monday, January 05, 2015

A Thought for Monday 5 January 2015

“It came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out to his brethren and looked at their burdens.  And he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren.  So Moses looked this way and that way, and when he saw no one he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.  And when Moses went out the second day, two Hebrew men were fighting, and Moses said to the one who did the wrong, ‘Why are you striking your companion?’”  Exodus 2:11-13 NKJV

We do not know how Moses came to know of the Hebrews as his “brethren”.  Recall Moses had been found in the river during the time in which the Pharaoh had ordered all Hebrew male children to be killed.  What possessed the Pharaoh’s daughter to defy her father by taking in the child is anyone’s guess, but a one writer emphasizes the word “saw”.  She “saw” the child weeping and “had compassion”.  Moses “saw” the Egyptian task master beating a Hebrew, so Moses looked about to “see” if he was being watched.  Yet when he returned a second day and tried to break up a fight between two Hebrews, he discovered he had been “seen”.  Clearly something was being “seen” beyond the moment.

What we do often has a lot to do with what we see; that is, how we perceive a particular thing or person.  Usually a snap judgment is rendered, and we respond according to how we process our perceptions.  So how we process and respond to what we see or perceive depends entirely upon how we are conditioned to perceive.  For instance, we see a homeless person wandering about, looking through dumpsters for food and other items, but how do we process what we have seen?  Are we moved with compassion enough to respond accordingly, or are we filled with disdain for this “lazy” person who obviously brought his misery upon himself - without knowing anything at all about this person and his circumstances?

We are all raised in different environments by different persons, and we become a reflection of what we are taught and how we are conditioned to perceive the world around us.  If we never read or discuss the Scriptures, if we depend only on a priest, a pastor, or a rabbi to tell us what the Scriptures mean (if we bother with this at all), we will always come up short in our capacity to fully process the world which surrounds us.  We will respond only according to how we’ve been conditioned and influenced to respond.

So we are challenged by The Word to see the world through a whole different set of lenses.  We are compelled by the Spirit not merely to “see” something but to process what we see in accordance with what is written in the Scriptures for us to know.  We are compelled by our religion to see more broadly and to think more deeply, to grow beyond how we are conditioned – because if we cannot look upon others with any sense of compassion, we cannot fully appreciate the compassion with which our Lord has looked upon us.  Oh, we might be able to sing “Jesus loves ME, this I know …”, but can we appreciate the Holy Lens through which this Love challenges us to look?  How others are looked upon from Above?  If not, we know nothing worth knowing.   

Let today be that Holy Day in which we learn to process what we see according to The Word.  Let us discover what we’ve been missing all along.



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