Daily Reflection
July 20th, 2007

Jeanne Schuler

Philosophy Department
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Free At Last

This time the people listened. Generations of slavery had brought them low. They sang softly to their children of a faraway home. They were wretched and ready. The meal was cooked properly, blood rubbed over the entry way. A long night of waiting lay ahead. No one knew what was coming.

The Lord says: never forget the day I set you free.

Was it throwing the last pack away? When the scan picked up no sign of disease? When our estranged child finally called? Was it under that tree on campus where we pledged our love? Was it quitting that soul-numbing job? Was it finally saying “no” or saying “yes”? Was it Juneteenth when the slaves learned that the Civil War and slavery were over? Was it being known and being healed?

Remember that day always.

Pharaoh was stiff-necked; why should a king listen to slaves? Not until his beloved son was struck down did he yield. The Pharisees treated rules tenderly and people harshly. They handed down judgments like those who had forgotten who they were.

Sometimes we are pharaoh or Pharisee. Stubbornly we try to save ourselves. As self-proclaimed keepers of virtue, we set traps for the wicked and gloat when they fall. Power dazzles us and we suspect the lowly.

In Lost in the Cosmos, by Walker Percy, the alien poses questions to the survivors from earth. Their answers reveal whether they are a menace to themselves and others, or whether they finally realize who they are.

The questions are simple:

Are you in trouble?
Did you ask for help?
Did help arrive?
Did you accept it?
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