March 22: “Human Family,” poem by Maya Angelou

Human Family

I note the obvious differences
in the human family.
Some of us are serious,
some thrive on comedy.

Some declare their lives are lived
as true profundity,
and others claim they really live
the real reality.

The variety of our skin tones
can confuse, bemuse, delight,
brown and pink and beige and purple,
tan and blue and white.

I’ve sailed upon the seven seas
and stopped in every land,
I’ve seen the wonders of the world
not yet one common man.

I know ten thousand women
called Jane and Mary Jane,
but I’ve not seen any two
who really were the same.

Mirror twins are different
although their features jibe,
and lovers think quite different thoughts
while lying side by side.

We love and lose in China,
we weep on England’s moors,
and laugh and moan in Guinea,
and thrive on Spanish shores.

We seek success in Finland,
are born and die in Maine.
In minor ways we differ,
in major we’re the same.

I note the obvious differences
between each sort and type,
but we are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

EXODUS CHAPTER TEN


1 The LORD told Moses: “Go back to the king.

I have made him and his officials stubborn,

So I could work these miracles, and I

Did this 2 because I want you to inform

Your children and your grandchildren about

My miracles and of my brutal treatment

Of the Egyptians, for then all of you

Will know that I’m the LORD,” 3 so Moses and

Aaron went to the king and told him that

The Hebrews’ LORD God had said: “How long will

You stubbornly refuse to mind me? Let

My people go so they can worship me.

And do this by tomorrow, 4 or I’ll cover

Your country with so many locusts 5 that

You won’t be able to observe the ground.

Most of your crops were ruined by the hailstones,

But these same locusts will destroy what little

Remains, including trees. 6 Your palace, homes

Of your officials, and the other houses

In Egypt will run over with more locusts

Than this whole land has ever seen before.

Then Moses left the palace, 7 and the king’s

Officials asked, “Your Majesty, for how

Much longer will this man cause trouble? Why

Don’t you allow the people to depart,

So they can worship their LORD God? Don’t you

Know Egypt’s ruined?” 8 So the king had Moses

And Aaron brought back, and he said, “All right,

You may go worship the LORD God, but

First tell me who will go,” 9 and Moses said,

“Everyone, young and old. We’ll even take

Our cattle, sheep, and goats, because we want

To celebrate in honor of the LORD.”

10 The king replied, “The LORD had better watch

Over you on the day I let you leave

With all your families! You’re up to no good.

You want to go and worship God? 11 All right,

Take only men and go.” Then Moses and

Aaron were chased out of the palace. 12 God

Told Moses, “Stretch your arm toward Egypt. Swarms

Of locusts will come and eat all that the hail

Has left,” 13 so Moses held his walking stick

Out, and the LORD sent an east wind that blew

Through Egypt that day and all of that night.

By morning, locusts swarmed throughout the land.

14 Never had Egypt had so many locusts

Before, and never will the land contain

So many locusts as there were that day.

15 The ground was black with locusts, and they ate

All that was left on trees and in the fields,

And nothing green remained in Egypt−not

A tree or plant. 16 At once the king sent for

Moses and Aaron. He told them, “I’ve sinned

Against the LORD your God and both of you.

17 Forgive me one more time and ask the LORD

To stop these bugs from killing every plant,”

18 So Moses left the palace and he prayed,

19 Then God sent out a strong west wind that swept

The locusts into the Red Sea, and not

One locust was left anywhere in Egypt,

20 But God did harden the king’s heart so that

He still refused to let the people go.

21 The LORD told Moses, “Stretch your arm up toward

The sky, and darkness thick enough to touch

Will blanket everything,” 22 so Moses stretched

His arm up toward the sky, and Egypt was

Covered with darkness for three days, 23 and in

That time, Egyptians could not see each other

Or leave their homes, but where the Israelites

Plague of Darkness

Resided, there was light. 24 The king sent for

Moses and told him, “Go and worship God.

And take your families with you. Just leave

Your sheep and goats and cattle.” 25 “No!” said Moses.

“You have to let us offer sacrifices

Unto the LORD our God, 26 and we won’t know

Which animals we’ll need ’til we get there.

That’s why we can’t leave even one of them.”

27 This time the LORD made Egypt’s king so stubborn

28 He said to Moses, “Get out and stay out.

If you return, you’re dead!” 29 And Moses then

Said, “Fine, you win. You won’t see me again.”

EXODUS CHAPTER NINE


1 The LORD sent Moses with this message for

The king of Egypt: “The LORD God of Hebrews

Tells you to let his people go, so they

Can worship him. 2 If you continue to

Refuse, 3 he’ll bring a terrible disease

Upon your horses, donkeys, camels, goats,

Cattle and sheep, 4 but animals that are

The Israelites’, God will protect, and none

Of theirs will die. 5 Tomorrow is the day

The LORD has set to do this.” 6 It occurred

The next day−all the animals belonging

            To the Egyptians died, but Israelites

Livestock Disease

Lost not a one. 7 Now when the king found out,

He was still too bull-headed to allow

People to go. 8 The LORD told Moses and

Aaron: “Go to a stove and pick up handfuls

Of ashes and have Moses throw them in

The air as Egypt’s king is watching, 9 for

Across the land of Egypt will the ashes

Fly, causing sores to break out on the people

And animals,”10 so they took a few handfuls

Of ashes and went to the king, and Moses

Threw them into the air, and sores broke out

On the Egyptians and their animals.

11 The sorcerers were suffering so much

From sores that they could not come up to Moses.

12 It happened as the LORD had said to Moses−

He made the king too bull-headed to hear

Moses and Aaron. 13 God told Moses to

Rise early the next morning and to tell

The king: “The Hebrews’ LORD God orders you

To let his people go to worship him.

14 If you do not, he will send his worst plagues

To strike you, your officials, and the rest

Of people in your country. Then you will

Find out that no one can oppose the LORD.

15 In fact, he could already have sent out

A terrible disease and wiped you from

The face of earth, 16 but he’s kept you alive,

Just to show you his power and to bring

Distinction to himself throughout the world.

17 You’re set to keep God’s people here. 18 All right,

This time tomorrow, he will bring on Egypt

A hailstorm worse than any you have had.

19 You’d better give some orders for each man

And animal in Egypt to take cover,

For if they don’t, they’ll die.” 20 Some ministers,

Afraid due to God’s words, rushed off to make

Sure that their slaves and animals were safe,

21 But others paid his threats no heed and left

Their slaves and animals out in the open.

22 The LORD told Moses, “Stretch your arm out toward

The sky, so hailstones will fall on the people,

And crops and animals in Egypt.” 23 Moses

Did point his walking stick up toward the sky,

24 And hailstones started falling everywhere

As thunder roared, and lightning shot out back

Plague of Hail and Fire by John Martin (1823)

And forth and struck the ground in the worst storm

In Egypt’s history. 25 People, animals,

And crops were pounded by the hailstones; bark

Plague of Hail and Fire

Was stripped from trees, 26 and only Goshen, where

Israelites lived, stayed sheltered from the storm.

27 The king then sent for Moses and for Aaron

And told them, AI have sinned. My people and

I are all guilty, and the LORD is right.

This hail and thunder−we can’t take it. 28 Please

Ask God to make it stop. Your people can

Go−no more must you stay in Egypt. 29 Moses

Replied, “As soon as I go from the city,

I’ll lift my arms in prayer, and when the thunder

And hail do stop, you’ll know the earth belongs

To God−30 but I am sure that neither you

Nor your officials fear the LORD God.” 31 Meanwhile,       

The storm had ruined flax and barley crops

Because they had been close to ripening.

32 But wheat crops ripen later, and weren’t ruined.

33 So Moses left the royal palace and

The city, and he lifted arms in prayer

To God: The thunder, hail, and drenching rain

Then stopped, 34 but when the king saw that       the storm

Was gone, he disobeyed once more. He and

His ministers were so bull-headed 35 that

He would not let the Israelites depart−

Exactly how God said that they would start.