Beliefnet
The Jazz Theologian

Moses understood what it meant to live life on the hyphen.  We aren’t sure when it happened but some where along the way he found out that he wasn’t who he thought he was.  Being the child of a Hebrew slave but adopted as an infant by Pharoah’s daughter, there was great reason for internal conflict.  Was he Egyptian…Hebrew…both? 

Fertile ground for the "psychic conversion."

Maybe it was his adoptive mother who took him aside one day and told him the full story about how he was really a Hebrew slave.  Whatever it was it lead to an understanding that he was part of a group and that he could not live life independent from them.  The scriptures put it this way…

One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor.  He say an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people."  Exodus 2.11

Like I said, we don’t know how he found out but he began to go out and watch "his own people."  He would wonder if it was right for him to live in the palace while "his people" lived as poor slaves.  Why did God allow him to be separated from them?  Was it part of his destiny to to be Hebrew and Egyptian…a Hebrew-Egyptian…a person on the hyphen?

When one awakens to the idea that they are not just an individual it can be life changing/shattering.  Moses ultimately fled to the desert because of killing an Egyptian and the bounty that Pharaoh had on his head…but I wonder if he fled also because "his own people" didn’t accept him either.  I say this because later on in Exodus 2.13-14 he sees two of "his own people" fighting each other and he tries to intervene.  It seemed so wrong to him…Hebrew-on-Hebrew crime…that he must have thought that if only his people worked together, started Hebrew owned businesses and had more Hebrew pride then things would be better.  But "his own people" didn’t receive him either.

I have asked this before and I will ask it again:  Do you know who your people are? 

It is not an easy question to answer in America because it is fraught with tension but it also is part of our destiny–part of of the second conversion, the psychic conversion–it is essential to jazz.

Aren’t you glad that God has an answer to that question? 

The Lord said, "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt.  I have heard them cryng out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering."  Ex. 3.7

Let us imitate God.

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