One month after their dramatic departure from slavery in Egypt, the Israelites were having second thoughts about their new-found freedom. The wilderness offered challenges that felt more daunting than their memories of captivity. They struggled not only to survive the dangers of life on the move in a harsh barren landscape, but also to cope with their fears, discouragement, doubts about their leaders’ competency, nostalgia for the past, reluctance to change, and struggle to trust the One who had set them free.
In the story we heard this past Sunday (9/24), hunger has them at a breaking point. But God hears their cries and provides food to nourish them. This food, this bread from heaven which they end up calling “manna” arrives with a condition: each morning, they must only collect what their family needs for that day. Except for on the sixth day, when they collect enough for two days so that they can rest from the labor to put food on the table on the seventh day. Unlike Pharaoh’s bread, which required unending back-breaking labor with no allowance for restorative rest, manna is God’s generous gift.
Join us this Sunday as we explore the subversive truth of this story–God will bless us with all we need to thrive. Why are we so often tempted to hoard what we could share and to envy what we don’t have? What contributes to our getting lost in a wilderness of discouragement, nostalgia for some idealized past, or fear-ful resistance to a future we did not expect? How can we learn to trust that the new life God offers us can be better than the life we know now? We’ll also look at the apostle Paul’s charge to “live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ”, and consider the kinds of the spiritual conditioning we could undergo that would give us a greater sense of freedom and joy in our lives.
Come and experience the presence of the One who gives us life, satisfies our deepest hunger, and shows us what is possible. Come and learn how in a wilderness of suffering and fear, poverty and violence, ecological exploitation and habitat destruction, God provides all we need to heal what is broken.
We can’t wait to see you here!