Escape to Egypt
Read Matthew 2:13-23
The description of the escape to Egypt takes a mere three verses and appears only in the Gospel of Matthew. An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph and warned him of Herod’s murderous intentions. Joseph was instructed by the angel to flee Bethlehem to escape Herod’s wrath. The account tells us that Joseph, Mary and the infant Jesus left immediately on the night of Joseph’s dream.
I can’t help but wonder whether they left in a panic and packed in haste. Their steadfast belief in the Lord and their obedience points instead to a departure marked by confidence and conviction. The long trek that lay ahead of the family was fraught with danger.
They were travelers on an unfamiliar road. They were dispossessed and far from home. They faced unknown risks and uncertain outcomes. These are words that describe the early trials of Jesus, Mary and Joseph on their journey to Egypt.
These words may also describe people in our community that lack the basic needs that we may take for granted. We may categorize all people who panhandle at freeway exits into one group – the less fortunate – without considering that each person with a sign is an individual. We may define each person by their sign and not see his or her true design – a child of God. Maybe you’ve been burned – soured on the idea of giving to the person standing at the freeway exit. Once the gift leaves our hands, we lose physical control of its use. As Christians though, we have prayer. We can trust in God to work in the hearts and lives of the man who is unemployed, the woman struggling with mental illness or whoever is the recipient of our generosity.
To that end, during this season of giving, the Hospitality and Outreach Commission is launching Ready 2 Roll. The goal of Ready 2 Roll is to equip each of us to be ready to bring aid and comfort to people in the community that need something to eat; clean, dry feet; a little money to get by; or help in finding resources in our community through small care packages. Early in 2014, a team will be forming to help launch Ready 2 Roll.
Reflection: For a moment, picture Jesus as a young child. Imagine his parents organizing their things for a trek to Egypt. What do you imagine is going through their minds? How might they have shared this news with their family, neighbors, or anyone else for that matter? When you’re in trouble and need to seek the help of others how does that happen? Who is helpful to you in tough times? Alternately, who comes to you for help? Do you imagine Jesus being in the midst of these situations?
Prayer for Ready 2 Roll by Myrtice Dills: Thank you Lord for the person receiving these gifts. May you bless them in whatever their circumstances and may they know you love them. We ask this all in the loving name of Jesus Christ.
By Heather Carlson, session liaison to Hospitality and Outreach Commission