Courageous compassion

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Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge that we are on land of the Kaurna people, the traditional custodians of the Adelaide Plains.We are awed that they celebrate the religious significance of place, plant and all living creatures; and that care for the earth is implanted in their law. We honour them and also delight in the sacred in our midst. We pray that in the power of the Holy Spirit we might work together for reconciliation and justice in this land

Exodus 1:8-2:10 NRSV

8 Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. 9He said to his people, ‘Look, the Israelite people are more numerous and more powerful than we. 10Come, 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.’ 11Therefore they set taskmasters over them to oppress them with forced labour. They built supply cities, Pithom and Rameses, for Pharaoh. 12But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread, so that the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites. 13The Egyptians became ruthless in imposing tasks on the Israelites, 14and 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.

15 The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, 16‘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.’ 17But the midwives feared God; they did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but they let the boys live. 18So the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and said to them, ‘Why have you done this, and allowed the boys to live?’ 19The 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.’ 20So God dealt well with the midwives; and the people multiplied and became very strong. 21And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families. 22Then 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.’

2Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a Levite woman. 2The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was a fine baby, she hid him for three months. 3When 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. 4His sister stood at a distance, to see what would happen to him.

5 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. 6When she opened it, she saw the child. He was crying, and she took pity on him. ‘This must be one of the Hebrews’ children,’ she said. 7Then 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?’ 8Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, ‘Yes.’ So the girl went and called the child’s mother. 9Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, ‘Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give you your wages.’ So the woman took the child and nursed it. 10When 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.’

Reflection

In the story we have met several strong, influential women. Driven by compassion for those in their care. The role of these bold women, from very different backgrounds is striking. We see the courage and creativity of midwives Shiphrah and Puah when they disobey the Pharaoh’s orders and let the babies live;we see the courage of Miriam who watches over her brother, regardless of the danger; we see the courage of the pharaoh’s daughter when she acts against her father; and we see the courage of Moses’ mother to do what is best for her son, even if it means giving him away twice – when she sets him in the river and after she weans him and he is adopted by the pharaoh’s daughter.

In this story we hear of a baby being protected, A Baby in basket – an image of God protecting the vulnerable. Scripture tells us truths universal. The truth of this passage of scripture is of God’s intent & desire that the vulnerable are protected.

At this time when a pandemic sweeps our world the vulnerable have never been more at risk. The vulnerable are protected by courageous compassionate people like the women in our story. Take courage from their example Courage to face the everyday. Courage as we too at some time may be called upon to do something brave!

Prayer for the people

Healing Spirit,
Fill our hearts with love for those who are unloved, forgotten, disposed, alone.
Let your flame of fiery presence melt the hearts chilled with fear and distrust.
Sprout new seeds of hope in the desert places of dusty souls.
Cool the fierce hate that scars thoughts of the powerful.
Fill empty vessels of self-worth with purpose to serve victims and vulnerable.
Voice the silent cries of those who are spent, and can no longer manage alone.

 Silence prayer for your local community migrants and refugees, their needs and support

 Healing Spirit, hear our prayers.
Healing Spirit, we lift them up to you.

]Silence prayer for the state-wide communities of migrants and refugees, to be alert and responsive to the critical care and need, for the emotional, mental, spiritual and physical  wellbeing of those who come with such practical  need and who are often emotionally spent.

Healing Spirit, hear our prayers.
Healing Spirit, we lift them up to you.

Silence prayer for the national bodies assisting migrants and refugees, Government programs and decisions that are life changing for people who have already suffered much

Healing Spirit, hear our prayers.
Healing Spirit, we lift them up to you.

Silence prayer for our country’s public voice and action for migrants and refugees across the world.

Healing Spirit, hear our prayers.
Healing Spirit, we lift them up to you.

Inflame our hearts with your unconditional love, That our active presence makes a difference in changing values, Approach, decisions and the living reality for these, our sisters and brothers. Amen

Rev Anne Hewitt