Today is Passover.  That great day in Jewish memory when the people commemorate the Liberation  and Exodus, from servitude, slavery and the Pharoah’s cruelty. 

What an archetypal promise this is!  That we can all turn our backs on the Pharaohs, systems and structures that oppress us.  That freedom beckons us.  Little wonder that the black church latched on to this archetype of Exodus as central to its own liberation from slavery and Jim Crow.

We ask: What are the Pharaohs in our world today that are oppressing us, and interfering with our fullest selves coming to ripeness?

There are many.  Some are internal like addictions.  (The word “addict” and “dictator” are the same root word after all.)  An addiction is a dictator living within us.  Enslaving us. 

Other internal pharaohs include: fear; self hatred; self pity; not caring; inertia. 

Other servitudes are more societal like the Pharoahs of old.   Often the personal and the societal work in tandem to enslave us.

When one considers the recent news such as two mass killings in one week in Atlanta and Boulder, each perpetrated by young men, it raises again the deep question of whether toxic masculinity and patriarchy count as pharaohs in our time.  And violence to Asians, another act of racism.

Stop Asian Hate DC Rally for Collective Safety; Protect Asian/AAPI Communities; McPherson Square, Washington, DC, 3/21/2021. Photo by Miki Jourdan on Flickr

When we see new Jim Crow laws being passed In Georgia, and elsewhere, we witness the pharaohs of racism on the rise again.

This makes all the more important the meditations we have been sharing for several weeks about the healthy masculine.  

Archetypes like the spiritual warrior demonstrate how we all have a courageous person inside of us able and called on to stand up and speak out.  Replace a toxic masculinity with a healthy one that redeems. 

In the Christian tradition, the Passover occasion is mingled with the Last Supper event wherein Jesus gathered his closest disciples for a meal and in the process of that meal is said to have pointed out his betrayer and prayed over cup and bread with the words “Do this in memory of me.”  Memory being a big part of Jewish liturgy—Rabbi Heschel says all of Jewish ritual can be summarized in one word, “remember.” 

“Can you drink the Chalice that I will drink?” Retable panel from a church in Brussels. Photo by Lawrence OP on Flickr

The Supper was followed by the prayer in Gethsemane that ‘this cup might pass’, meaning the cup of suffering and death that awaited Jesus that fateful night and following day, which we remember as Good Friday.

Like the Passover events of old, a great exodus or liberation is intrinsic to the Last Supper story.  An escape from Pharaohs of all stripes, from oppression of all kinds, whether inner or outer.  A tragic price was paid, that of Jesus’s crucifixion at the hands of the Roman empire which seemed to have triumphed by killing him in a most cruel and public manner. 

But better news lies ahead as early Christians including Paul, Peter, James, Mary Magdalene, other disciples, along with “the 500,” experience a risen Christ in various manifestations. 

Blessed Passover to all!

See Matthew Fox, The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine, pp. 77-104.

Banner Image: “The First Passover Feast” by Huybrecht Beuckeleer (1563). On Wikimedia Commons

What are the pharaohs you hope to escape from this coming year?  How are you developing your strength and courage—your spiritual warriorhood–to make that a reality?  What ancestors do you call on to assist you in that work?

The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine

To awaken what Fox calls “the sacred masculine,” he unearths ten metaphors, or archetypes, ranging from the Green Man, an ancient pagan symbol of our fundamental relationship with nature,  to the Spiritual Warrior….These timeless archetypes can inspire men to pursue their higher calling to connect to their deepest selves and to reinvent the world.
“Every man on this planet should read this book — not to mention every woman who wants to understand the struggles, often unconscious, that shape the men they know.” — Rabbi Michael Lerner, author of The Left Hand of God

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3 thoughts on “Passover, 2021”

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    Thank you for the naming of those forces that work to limit and prevent people from exercising their human rights, including the right to vote, and for reminding us of the possibility of freedom —- that requires us to be awake and alert to be spiritual warriors to reclaim and protect freedom for all.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      I’m happy to see that you are not put off by the term, “spiritual warrior.” We need to be as spiritual warriors in order to engage “those forces that limit and prevent people from exercising their human rights” as you have rightly said…

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