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.
How often do you reflect that it might have been better not to have started a new project or to follow that dream? We often wish we left things as they were, rather than launching into the new, and suffering in the midst of ‘the now’ – the time of change and discomfort. A faith-filled journey often takes us into the unknown. It is safer to remain stable and in the recognized space. Yet, that is not where Jesus called us.
On God’s path, in the valleys and along the hill tops, there will be enough to survive and be resourced. In faithful hope, we look beyond ‘the now’ to the vision that was brought before us. The unexpected gifts may not be what we anticipated. They may not be in abundance, but, as the Israelites found, they were enough. Delivered with the revealing ‘dazzling light’ of God, we can recognize that even in the desert experience, God is with us. The promised land or vision may not be for us to see, but we must still develop the vision for the benefit of God’s realm, of which we are an integral part.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
God of each new day,
we too often begin it with worry.
Worry for things past,
for things yet to happen,
or things that we fret over and linger in our thoughts.
Let us lay them down here,
so that we turn to the hope of this new day.
Take these concerns,
as we do not want to carry them anymore.
Silent private confessions
Fill our hearts with your warming Spirit,
for your healing brings great comfort to our aching souls.
Let us take down every barrier we build,
so that we feel your presence
and delight in your company.
WORDS OF ASSURANCE
People of God,
Let your hearts be at peace.
Remember the miracles and good news of our ancestors.
Live in the hope that where ever you are
God is there, greeting you with open arms.
Let the barriers down,
so that you are embraced by the tender care of the One who loves you.
PRAYER OF ADORATION AND THANKSGIVING
You shower us with gifts,
even when we are unaware.
You offer an abundance,
though so often we do not comprehend.
You, O God, sustain us.
You, O God, are a dazzling light.
Through the clouds of our thinking,
comes the clarity of your Being.
Through the shadows of our difficulties
comes the reality of your generosity.
We give thanks for your presence in the midst of our days.
We give thanks for unexpected joys
that bring a smile to our face
and satisfy our souls!
Thanks be to God,
who never forgets us!