SOS: Midwives, Magi, and Movements

Sos picture

Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, “Every boy that is born to the Hebrews you shall throw into the Nile, but you shall let every girl live” (Exodus 1:22).

Morse code is the forerunner to text messaging. “SOS” was used in Morse Code as a distress signal to “Save Our Ship.” “Save Our Sons” is an appropriate distress signal today. Many have answered the call to save our sons from truancy, mass incarceration, and police brutality. Few have answered the call to accompany our sons and daughters on the journey to adulthood. The midwives and magi offer a model for organizing movements that equip the elders to make the journey.

Midwives Protest
The Egyptians midwives practiced civil disobedience long before Thoreau. The king of Egypt issued a decree to kill the boys while letting the girls live (Exodus 1:16). Shiphrah and Puah demonstrated the reverence for the God of justice required to dismantle systems and decrees which destroy children. The midwives organized a nonviolent direct action movement that brought forth the sons and delivered the daughters. As a result, God “dealt well with the midwives; and the people multiplied and became very strong” (Exodus 1:20).

Magi Nurture
The magi were a company of wise teachers, priests, and astrologers with religious and political influence. They followed a star to find the child that was born “king of the Jews” (Matthew 2:2). Under the Roman Empire, Herod was the only sovereign ruler in Jerusalem. The magi’s news presented a threat to Herod’s power. Herod attempted to use the magi as informants for his plans to kill the child. When they saw the child, the magi modeled the nurturing nature of adult relationships. They experienced joy, they bowed down in worship, and they presented their treasures and gifts. However, when the magi learned of Herod’s plan, they simply returned to the East by another way. The tragic consequences of the magi’s actions were the death of many infant sons by Herod’s decree (Matthew 2:16).

Movements Transform
The midwives initiated a movement that brought forth Moses and led to the Exodus out of Egypt. The magi announced the birth of the Messiah and called forth a transformational movement characterized by love and justice. Jesus was and is humanity’s hope for redemption from the bondage of disobedience and the evil of sin. Just as Jesus rose out of Egypt, he rose out of the grave and ignited a movement that continues to transform the world today.

Saving our sons and delivering our daughters involves altering the environments in which they live and play. This altering frees them to reach their full potential. The midwives and magi neither cooperated nor relied on an oppressive system for deliverance. Instead, they responded and participated in the move of God to save our sons, deliver our daughters, and save our souls.

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