​ Safwat Marzouk,former associate professor of Old Testament/Hebrew Bible at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, Indiana, shared on the topic of xenophobia, or the fear of the other, during the morning Bible study July 9 at MennoCon21 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Image by Laurie Oswald Robinson. 

By Laurie Oswald Robinson
Saturday, July 10, 2021

After listening to Safwat Marzouk unpack the Exodus 1-2 story about how Pharoah's daughter rescued Baby Moses from the Nile, I am rethinking the phrase, "random acts of kindness."

Safwat's perspective on her rescue of Moses was that it was anything but randomly and mundanely hidden, albeit compassionate. Her choice was subversively radical and a snub to the most powerful person in Egypt, indeed, her very own father, likely the most influential male in her life. Hers was not a random act, but a resistant one; a revolutionary one, and it reversed the trajectory of fear of the "other" (i.e. Egyptians and Israelite) into an embrace.

How many times in daily life do we see "babies" floating down the river of our day and turn our head the other way?

One does not need to be a revolutionary to enter the flow of what God is doing in the daily grind:

  • settling a conflict with someone who thinks totally opposite than we do on an important topic – listening to, rather than loathing, the other;
  • withholding judgment on someone we feel is too conservative, too progressive, or just too – fill in the blank;
  • seeing ourselves as above the struggles of friends and family who we think brought their troubles upon themselves;
  • celebrating a co-worker whose gifts are being recognized when ours own go unnoticed;
  • and embracing, rather than shaming, ourselves when personal weaknesses arise.

How many times do we revert to indifference regarding the issues in our immediate neighborhood because it is far away from the marches for justice we see on our smartphones and other digital devices. We can't go march in a city far away, so we raid the fridge for another munchie before surfing more You Tube.

I often shy away from the edge of the daily river so that I won't catch the sight of a reed basket holding someone different than myself. Or hear the cries of someone who is suffering and marginalized. Or witness the impotence of someone with power who is vastly lonely because mutuality is too vulnerable. Or fail to see the silent wound I inflicted on someone by spurning a heart offering me risky, naked authenticity.

The question is not whether God's river is flowing throughout our seemingly random, daily lives; but rather: are we willing to defy the tyrannies that would hinder us from radical and revolutionary acts of getting wet, no matter how tiny, or tremendous?






​Laurie Oswald Robinson is editor of Mennonite Mission Network.



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