EXODUS: Of Pride and Marches
The book of Exodus is a journey from slavery to freedom. Enslaved by the Pharaoh of Egypt, the Israelites suffer heavy burdens until the prophet Moses, chosen by God, commands the Pharaoh – “Let my people go!” What follows, is a journey out of Egypt and into the wilderness for 40 years. Rather than being a nation lost in the desert though, the book of Exodus evolves into entering a covenant with God, being formed as God’s people, and discovering who they truly are as God’s pride.
- As an LGBT person or ally standing before God, what is “holy ground” for you and what causes you to “remove your sandals?”
- When Moses encounters God, he hides his face because he was afraid to look at God. What is your experience of being in the presence of God?
- God often uses insignificant people to further the Reign of God. Do you think this is God’s intention? Why? If you have felt insignificant as an LGBT person or ally, how is God calling out to you? Do you answer?
- The Book of Exodus mirrors many of the elements of a Pride March. It is a march from slavery to freedom; there are celebrations, memorials to remember the past, the making of a covenant and the beginnings of a new people. Where do you see yourself in the Exodus story? What has been your experience of Pride marches, parades and the LGBT movement for equal rights? Has it been a sacred experience?
- The Israelites continue to wander in the desert for 40 years before they reach the Promised Land. What makes you continue to “wander in deserts” even if you have “come-out” as an LGBT person or ally? What “manna” feeds you along your way?
- The central event of the “desert experience” was establishing a covenant relationship between God and Israel at Mount Sinai. The covenant reminded the people that it was God who had brought them “out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery” (Exodus 20:2). If God were to draft a covenant relationship with you, what would that covenant look like?
- Pride events and especially pride parades and marches are about visibility and creating a sense of belonging for people who may not have it. Like the Israelites who shouldered heavy burdens, “gay pride” is also about being part of a group of people who are often rejected and attacked for who they are. Where and how do you see yourself as part of LGBT pride and hope?
Below is Harvey Milk’s speech – Give Them Hope. While the speech itself is brief, the message is eternal; a reminder that in all desert experiences or journeys from slavery to freedom, this four-letter word leads the march.