I am sure that most of us have seen the bumper stickers with the word “Coexist” with the letters written in various forms. I’ve seen it for different religious symbols (i.e. how different faiths can coexist), for different computer operating systems (Mac, Windows, Linux, etc), and different video game systems (Xbox, Playstation, etc). I am sure there are other variations out there. The word “coexist” came to me as I was walking this morning on a beautiful sunny morning after the winter storm that rolled through this week.
One of the beautiful things about walking in the snow is that you can really see who else has been walking that same path recently. Today, I saw footprints from other people walking there as well as dogs, rabbits, deer, and maybe even a coyote. At one point, the word coexist came to my heart as I walked and saw the prints of all these living creatures that had gone that way at some point in the last 24 hours or so. How do we all coexist together in this beautiful world in which we live?
The readings from Exodus today are hard readings. While there are some that resonate well still, there are plenty of others that seemingly don’t make a lot of sense to us today. For example…22:2 – “If a thief is found breaking in, and is beaten to death, no bloodguilt is incurred; but if it happens after sunrise, bloodguilt is incurred.” Why does it matter if it happens at night or in the daytime? There are plenty of other examples like this.
How do we respond to these commands/laws today? It is easy for us to simply write them off and ignore them. Or we can pick and choose which ones seem to still fit our worldviews today. But maybe there’s something else… maybe these were attempts to work on helping people coexist with one another in a difficult and very different time than we live in today. Maybe that’s still part of the message of God for all of us – how do we work and live to coexist because we sure do have to learn how to do it. Maybe the work of coexisting should be our first work…