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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Scripture Reading: Exodus 16:1–15
The whole congregation of the Israelites set out from Elim; and Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt. The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather on other days.” So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening you shall know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your complaining against the Lord. For what are we, that you complain against us?” And Moses said, “When the Lord gives you meat to eat in the evening and your fill of bread in the morning, because the Lord has heard the complaining that you utter against him—what are we? Your complaining is not against us but against the Lord.”

Then Moses said to Aaron, “Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, ‘Draw near to the Lord, for he has heard your complaining.’” And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked toward the wilderness, and the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. The Lord spoke to Moses and said, “I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’ ”

In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat. (NRSV)

Today we read the familiar story of manna in the wilderness. Manna in Hebrew literally means “what is it?” This type of unleavened bread was called manna, recalling the Israelites’ first words when “there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. . . . They did not know what it was.” Moses explains to them, “It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat.”

Each day for forty years they depended solely on God to provide food for them, and each day God does. When they try to stash some away, it becomes spoiled and rotten. They must trust God completely and rely on God’s provision. When we recite the Lord’s Prayer and ask, “Give us this day our daily bread,” we are echoing this passage. God nourishes us each day. Do we recognize it? Amidst the busyness, stress, and worry, are we missing God’s provisions? It is perhaps a cliché to say “live in the moment,” but that is what the Israelites were forced to do, and that is often what is needed to recognize God’s very real presence. God is here with us now, at this very moment. Do you recognize that?

Loving God, you will nourish and sustain me. You are the bread of life and each day if I turn to you, you will feed me. Through all the ups and downs, through all the trials and joys, help me to stop each day and recognize your presence,which is always there. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Written by Liz Nickerson, Family Ministry Coordinator

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