Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


Pharaoh's Dream vs. God's Dream

I was at Honey Creek yesterday and will be back today and Wednesday through lunch for the Clergy Conference of the Diocese of Georgia. The main speaker is the well known and highly regarded Old Testament professor Dr. Walter Brueggemann.

I speaking with us last evening, Dr. Brueggemann lamented that as we encounter scripture in short passages each week, we miss over arching themes. The theme he pulled out for us was the repeating pattern of the move from slavery to freedom, which is also the move from scarcity to abundance. He showed this pattern with Moses in Exodus, with Elisha in 2 Kings and with Jesus in the Gospels.

In explicating the theme, Dr. Brueggemann noted that the move from the anxiety of scarcity to the freedom of abundance takes an unexpected act of generosity. In the Exodus story we find this pattern in Pharaoh who is the richest man in the world yet dreams of lean years and pushes everyone to work harder.

Once the Hebrews are out from under his yoke, the miracle of God providing bread in the wilderness (called Manna, which literally means "what is it?") is just such an act of unexpected generosity which proves that creation is ongoing and the creator can make fruitfulness where we can not generate that fruitfulness ourselves.

Then we find in the Sinai encounter that the Hebrews are given dreams of freedom and abundance through the Law of Moses which shows how to care for your neighbor so that all have enough.

Dr. Brueggemmann showed how this pattern and theme repeat in scripture with a some other examples. He noted that so many people whom we pastor (he too is an ordained minister) are anxious and driven to do more, more, more by fears of scarcity. He said in this, Pharaoh's command is "make more bricks," while God's comman is "love the Lord your God..."

I'll close with a quote from the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus lays out this promise of abundance over and against the world's anxiety of scarcity,
"So I tell you, don't worry about everyday life – whether you have enough food, drink, and clothes. Doesn't life consist of more than food and clothing? Look at the birds. They don't need to plant or harvest or put food in barns because your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than they are. Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Of course not. "And why worry about your clothes? Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don't work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, won't he more surely care for you? You have so little faith! "So don't worry about having enough food or drink or clothing. Why be like the pagans who are so deeply concerned about these things? Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs, and he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern. "So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today.—Matthew 6:25-34
The whole of scripture calls us again and again to come out of Egypt with its anxiety and dreams of scarcity to enter in to the Promised Land which is a land flowing with milk and honey.

The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church


  • At 9/12/2006 1:20 PM, Anonymous kenny said…

    Very interesting topic. Seems we don't always go far enough even in that idea. It's good and right to move in our thinking from worrying about scarcity to trusting in God's abundance. Then we have yet another leap to make - the one where we don't worry even about the abundance but just resting in God's providential care.

    It's funny. This is another of those things I can see but can't seem to master!

  • At 9/12/2006 8:54 PM, Anonymous said…

    I really like this thread. We have always bound ourselves and each other in so many shameful ways. The other day I saw a song about the woman who broke the jar of precious ointment (oil) and rubbed it on Jesus. I got two messages, first, a woman anointing Jesus. Secondly, I thought about the role women played and the rules broken by this women in even engaging Jesus. The bounds society put on women in Jesus' time.

    We enslave people not God. We put up the barriers. I'm a music teacher in a special education school. I see how people treat my students. They're afraid, they can't look at them or moved as far away as possible. The autistic children and profoundly retard frighten people the most. We're all precious and we all need love.
    We bind them with labels.

    I wonder what is God's abundance? Are we God's abundance and the love God gives us, the love that we sometimes don't share?

    Peace and I really liked this
    Bob S. Washington, PA

  • At 9/14/2006 10:10 AM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    The Rev. Steve Rice's take on this smae lecture is online here: Fear, Axiety, Anger, and the Pharaoh.


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