We’re all well aware of the revisionist history that comes with the Bible and its long and storied history. But I have to admit that I always giggle just a little bit when we come across revisionist history within the Bible itself.
Somehow, in this letter to the Corinthians, the exodus from Egypt has become a shining example of Right and Wrong, created solely for the purpose of illustrating appropriate behaviors to the fledgling church. The Israelites all “ate and drank spiritual food”, and “were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea”.
Now, I may be mis-remembering, but I don’t think the Israelites themselves were thinking much about baptism as they made that dash through the swampy waters of the Reed Sea. And I also seem to recall that their experience of that “spiritual food” was something more like “seriously, quail AGAIN?”.
It’s amazing what a millennium or so of distance can do to a story, isn’t it?
It’s one of the things that I’ve always found most comforting about the Bible- people are people are people. Moses comes down from the mountain, radiant with G-d/ess’ presence, and the people ask him to please cover his face, he’s kind of blinding, thanks. Jesus is transfigured on the mount, and Peter starts laying out plans for little houses he’s going to build. Even when confronted with the absolute presence of divinity, we’re going to get it wrong. We’re people; it’s who we are. And yet… we still keep getting to see it. G-d/ess is still speaking to us. We are loved, regardless. Our fuck-ups are inevitable, and yet we still keep trying.
Isn’t it liberating?