“You shall bring forward your brother Aaron, with his sons... to serve Me as priests” Exodus 28:1


What might be in Moses’s mind as God tells him to bring forth his brother to receive the priesthood? Maybe Moses is feeling perplexed and rather unrecognised. He has been obedient to God, followed God’s instructions and struggled with the wrath and fear of the people and this is his reward? A front row seat as his brother and sons are given the hereditary priesthood? Really?

We can be forgiven for feeling aggrieved on Moses’s behalf, but let’s pause and take stock. Moses understands he is not being diminished. He has learnt from Jethro he cannot, and indeed should not, lead singlehandedly; leadership needs to be shared. For leadership to flourish creatively we need diversity; we require difference in pursuit of shared goals.  

Moses has led the Israelites out of Egypt and responded to their fear of uncertainty by offering a steadying hand. He has not allowed his own anxiety to overtake him. It is not that he doesn’t feel fear, anger or frustration, but he instead works hard not to feed these emotions through blame and judgement. He calls for support and asks for help when he begins to feel overwhelmed. 

Moses’s leadership has led the people to the foot of the mountain. God has brought the people out of Egypt, and it is Moses who leads them to the sea; because God cannot fully achieve Her/His wonders without the active engagement of people. It is our willingness to set up as God’s partners that brings redemption, and it is Moses’s willingness to set up as God’s partner that brings redemption to the Israelites. 

Moses co-creates the conditions in which others can thrive. He has provided leadership that nurtures hope and possibilities for growth. He has not peddled in blame and denial, but instead called for accountability and honesty. 

God understands that Aaron will err and lessons will need to be learnt, but God also knows the human spirit is resilient. There is always hope and possibility before us and our encounter with the Divine need not be mediated by perfection, but rather through our own imperfect encounter with the world. Our job, as it is God’s job, is to keep turning up.

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