Scripture Reading: Genesis 29:15-28
Then Jacob said to Laban, ‘Give me my wife that I may go in to her, for my time is completed.’ So Laban gathered together all the people of the place, and made a feast. But in the evening he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob; and he went in to her. (Laban gave his maid Zilpah to his daughter Leah to be her maid.) When morning came, it was Leah! And Jacob said to Laban, ‘What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?’ Laban said, ‘This is not done in our country—giving the younger before the firstborn. Complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also in return for serving me for another seven years.’ Jacob did so, and completed her week; then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel as a wife.
Did Jacob inherit his con-artistry from his Uncle Laban? Remember Jacob cheated his brother Esau out of his birthright that is why Jacob was on the run in the first place. Laban tricked Jacob into seven more years of work by fooling him into marriage with Leah before he could marry the one he chose, Rachel. When we read further, we see the trickery continues. Of course, polygamy is a cultural taboo in most of our society today but was common place in ancient times. It had more to do with the economy than with love. It is hard to imagine living in such a world.
I wonder, what common place activities in our culture today will cause consternation among our descendants in the future. Perhaps we would benefit from examining such “norms” we take for granted and determining if they are in fact beneficial to our way of being. It might be time to clean our cultural filters and remove the sludge that makes us treat others less than God created them to be. What of our behaviors has more to do with the economy than with loving God and loving our neighbors?
Two things come to my mind:
- Filling jobs with undocumented immigrants at lower than minimum wages with no benefits while making it seem impossible to create laws that would allow immigrants easy entry to fill jobs that pay well with benefits, for which there are not enough citizens to do the work.
- Keeping the minimum wage so low that persons working at that level must rely on food stamps, Medicaid, and child care subsidies to survive. Our society denigrates people receiving such assistance which in many cases is no assistance at all but wage supplements for big businesses.
Privilege comes with blinders. Blinders are part of the rigging used on horses that protrude from the horses’ faces to keep them from being distracted from plowing a straight row or running a straight course. The blinders of privilege are not visible to those of us who wear them, but they keep us from seeing injustices that support our way of life.
Jesus envisioned a world where everyone had enough. When everyone has enough everyone contributes to the well-being of all, and that is good.
Prayer: Lord, remove our blinders. Help us to see the injustices that support our ways of life. Help us seek ways of overcoming injustice and live your way of love. Amen.
All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.