Then a new king, to whom Joseph meant nothing, came to power in Egypt. “Look,” he said to his people, “the Israelites have become far too numerous for us. Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country.” So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labour, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh. But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites and worked them ruthlessly. They made their lives bitter with harsh labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their harsh labour the Egyptians worked them ruthlessly.
Reflection. Power is an interesting thing. Fear of the other, of the stranger can lead to awful decisions being made. We are familiar with the story of Exodus. Yet, it is worth reflecting for a moment that this story begins with a number of apparently small and fairly insignificant events; a change of leader and a forgetting. The Egyptians forgot about all the good Joseph had done for them. Time passed, people forgot a shared history, a leadership change, and fear. What a phrase; 'the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites.'
How do we react when we hear of immigrants coming to our country? And, good grief, what about those 'dreadful' asylum seekers crossing the Channel in inflatable boats (he sense deep in irony). Do we forget the incredibly positive contributions that immigrants have made to our shared history? Are we praying as our country changes Prime Minister?
Prayer. Let us pray for Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak. Amen.