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Reform Magazine | June 13, 2024

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Chapter & verse: Exodus 1:17 - Reform Magazine

Chapter & verse: Exodus 1:17

Phil Wall on the defiance of the Hebrew midwives

I was just six years old when my part in our church’s production of Moses and the Burning Bush gave me a lifelong love for the theatre. I played the role of slave number three and though I was secretly convinced of its pivotal nature, it was made clear to me that I was not the star of the show. That particular glory fell, not to the eponymous hero (sorry, Simon!), but to Pharoah, who had the best lines, costume, and tunes.

Two decades later, I returned to the same stage as Joseph – he of betraying brothers and coloured coat – only to be upstaged once again by the Pharoah, whose curled lips and swiveling hips far outshone my earnest little performance.

Well, I don’t think it’s only a bruised ego that leads me to believe that, just as in art, so in life, it’s often the pharaohs, kings, and megalomaniacs who hog the spotlight, hoover up the headlines, and sing the loudest – if not the best – tunes. The never-ending carousel of clowns and despots playing politics; the billionaire man-boys who throw all their wealth into personal vanity projects; the misogynist media moguls who cajole and clickbait us into the latest culture war…

Phil Wall is Chaplain at Oakhill Secure Training Centre in Milton Keynes and a member of the URC’s Church Life Review Group

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This is an extract from an article published in the July/August 2023 edition of Reform

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