By: Maggie Leonard
Reflection— v. 14, ‘and went to Egypt’
Egypt. Why Egypt? I see that Matthew quotes Hosea in the next sentence—though
Hosea seems to clearly be speaking about the nation of Israel during the Exodus.
Theologically there are those who see Jesus in line with this scriptural reference as
the one who enacts the entire history of Israel—living out its history and fulfilling
God’s promises. It’s an interesting supposition, but I cannot help but see other interesting possibilities in the text. Knowing that the Hebrews fled from the slavery they endured in Egypt, I think it’s ironic that Jesus and his family were forced to flee there. Could this be a thoughtless reaction to fear—returning to what feels more comfortable but won’t end in death? Or is it an act of ultimate surrender and acceptance to God? And perhaps it points to the reality that fear and suffering are a part of our exsistence, but there is a larger, hopeful process at work. Sometimes we take two steps back to take one step forward. Or perhaps in this moment, God shows God’s work of redemption. The land of slavery has become the land of safety and security—nothing is outside of the saving grace of God. Perhaps all can be true at the same time.
Shepherd God, lead us forward with hope and help us to trust in you, that
your larger purpose might unfold and that humility, acceptance, and reconciliation might become a part of our witness to your presence in your world.