Wednesday, August 17, 2005

From Miriam to Moses

For Pentateuch I had to write a letter either from Moses to Miriam or vice versa. I decided to write Miriam's letter. It's her last letter to Moses, before she dies in the wilderness, which is right before the water incident at Meribah. This is a fun exercise and would be interesting to do with a small group or Sunday school class - for many of the characters in the Bible (e.g. David and Jonathan, Naomi and Ruth, Peter and Paul, Jesus and Mary of Bethany, etc.). Anyway, here's what I wrote:

My dearest little brother,

I thought I’d put my thoughts out on papyrus so that I can say everything clearly. Sometimes when we’re talking I get distracted by your glowing face or I get caught up in my emotions. Here I will be able to get it all out without being hindered. There’s a lot I want to say to you and I’m not sure how much time I’ve got left. This wandering has really gotten to me, and I’m feeling my age.

I have to tell you I am very proud of you. You have surpassed anything we could have imagined. I was always a little surprised that Yahweh took you under wing – when you left Egypt, I really thought we’d seen the last of you forever. But then you showed up one day all full of purpose and with Yahweh certainly on your side.

I was always a little curious why he chose you. I mean, all of our family had been close to Yahweh. I’ve known he was with me since that time when you were a baby and Yahweh told me to talk to the princess and I did it, despite my terrible fear. And what do you know? Yahweh knew what he was doing.

I’m really glad you came back and gave me a name to put with this Presence I’ve always known. And then the miraculous things that he did for us! Maybe I could have brought God’s words to Pharaoh (I did have experience standing up to Egyptian royalty), but you did a great job. It was such an amazing experience, wasn’t it? Terrifying and wonderful. When it was finally all over, how could we do anything but sing and dance?

But now, as I near the end of my days, I am becoming ever more aware just how fearsome Yahweh can be. I am so grateful to him for getting us out of Egypt, and I am so honored to be part of the family that he’s blessing specially. But lately, his might and power seem to be turned more and more against us instead of for us. It’s good to be part of the chosen people but it’s also difficult – he seems to expect so much more of not only our people, but our family in particular!

Still, I only ever see or hear glimpses of what he wants. He made it pretty clear that you’re the one he likes the best. And I’ve dealt with that, although you know it troubled me for some time. When I was stuck outside the camp for those seven days I did a lot of thinking, and I’ve made peace with my place in this grand story. The fact is, you’ve always been in a better position – because of your upbringing, your gender, your humility – to be God’s chosen one. I’ve just been along for the ride, and I’m grateful to have been so close to such a magnificent person.

Please pray for me as I go to our ancestors, and remember me as you lead the people home to the land promised to us. Sing my songs and keep the women dancing. Always trust Yahweh, even when he’s making you angry. It’s become obvious that he knows best. And whatever you do, don’t cross him! Do exactly as he says whenever he gives you instructions. Then it will go well with you and you will enter the land flowing with milk and honey, as I will not be able to do.
Take care of Aaron and yourself and most importantly of God’s precious people.


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