We’ve seen life on the margins in Burundi. It looks like this:
A cluster of grass huts, low to the ground, on the side of the road on dead land and no one ever stopping. Countrymen ride their bikes by without looking over their shoulder, westerners in shiny NGO vehicles drive by with the windows rolled up.
Getting stopped by the local police because you dared to walk to town for some cassava and beans. Your accent and short stature mark you. With no identity card you’re easy pickings, tossed into the local prison cell for no good reason.
Weekly burials of small bodies in your community and no one coming to investigate; no one from the government or church care that your children die at an alarming rate. Is it the dirty water, lack of food, parasites? No one knows; no one cares; no one comes.
The Hebrew Bible speaks about life on the margins. It’s living under the thumb and quotas of Pharaoh in Egypt, laboring on the underside of the imperial economy where you lose your livestock, land and very life to unbearable debt, it’s surviving on the outskirts of a foreign land where nothing is familiar and few are friendly.
We hear the voices of the marginalized in these Biblical narratives. They worry they won’t be welcomed. Maybe they’ll lose it all this harvest. “What if we can’t pay enough of it back?” they whisper in the darkness after the kids are in bed. They embody a precarious existence on the edge. In one saga they finally cry out…
Those mired in the brickyards of Egypt cry out – to no one in particular. They’ve just had enough and so they give loud voice to their pain. And God hears them. And God acts on their behalf. And so we have the story of a people in transit from oppression to freedom, from serving Pharaoh’s agenda to worshipping YHWH at the edge of the Red Sea.
Read the rest over at SheLoves Magazine today as we continue our exploration of Margins this month.