Archive for the ‘Exodus 16’ Tag

Devotion for the Fifth Sunday of Easter (Year D)   1 comment

mosaic

Above:  Mosaic, Church of the Multiplication, Tabgha, Israel

Image in the Public Domain

Spiritual Blindness

MAY 15, 2022

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The Collect:

Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ,  who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 236

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The Assigned Readings:

1 Samuel 21:1-15 or 2 Kings 4:38-44

Psalm 49:(1-12) 13-20

Matthew 15:29-39; 16:10-12 or Mark 8:1-26

2 Corinthians 8:1-6 (7-15) 16-24

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Stories of a holy person feeding a multitude with a small amount of food and having leftovers rhyme, if you will, O reader, in the Bible.  This day we read an account of Elisha feeding 100 men and parallel stories of Jesus feeding 4000 men (plus uncounted women and children) in Matthew 15 and about 4000 people in Mark 8.  The mechanics of such feelings do not interest me, but the theological importance of them does.  The Kingdom of God is here, and we can perceive that reality, if we are spiritually attuned.  In the Kingdom of God one finds abundance for everyone; artificial scarcity is a human creation.

Meanwhile, in 2 Corinthians 8, St. Paul the Apostle is raising funds for the Church at Jerusalem.  This becomes explicit in Chapter 9.  He, quoting Exodus 16:18, originally about manna, makes a point about wealth, monetary and physical:

The one who had much did not have too much,

and the one who had little did not have too little.

–2 Corinthians 8:15, The New Revised Standard Version (1989)

After all, we cannot take our money and possessions with us when we die.  In this life we ought to use them for positive purposes.  So, for example, if a rebel leader (David) pretending to be in the employ of King Saul needs bread for himself and his men takes the display bread reserved for priests to eat, the physical need overrides the ritual rules.  (Yet, in 1 Samuel 22, the lie had fatal consequences for the priests.)

In the Kingdom of God scarcity is absent.  So is the violence of someone such as King Saul.  The ways of God are not the ways of human beings, despite our repeated attempts to make God fit into our categories.  Part of this problem of attempting to make God fit into our categories is unavoidable, for, when we ponder God, we must do so from a human perspective.  It is the only way we can think about God.  Yet we must, if we are wise, recognize that our point of view is rather restricted.  Our perspective might be, for example, the spiritual blindness of the Apostles of the leaven of the Pharisees.  Reality is much broader than our narrow perspectives, we read.  Are we willing to open our spiritual eyes?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 12, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF MARTIN DOBER, MORAVIAN BISHOP AND HYMN WRITER; JOHANN LEONHARD DOBER, MORAVIAN MISSIONARY AND BISHOP; AND ANNA SCHINDLER DOBER, MORAVIAN MISSIONARY AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF EDITH CAVELL, NURSE AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINT KENNETH OF SCOTLAND, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY

THE FEAST OF SAINT NECTARIUS OF CONSTANTINOPLE, ARCHBISHOP

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https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2016/10/12/spiritual-blindness-2/

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Devotion for the Fourteenth, Fifteenth, and Sixteenth Days of Lent, Year A (ELCA Daily Lectionary)   3 comments

Gathering_of_the_Manna

Above:  The Gathering of the Manna, Part of a Fifteenth-Century Altarpiece

Image in the Public Domain

Anxiety Versus Faithfulness

THURSDAY-SATURDAY, MARCH 12-14, 2020

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The Collect:

Merciful God, the fountain of living water,

you quench our thirst and wash away our sin.

Give us this water always.

Bring us to drink from the well that flows with the beauty of your truth

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 27

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The Assigned Readings:

Exodus 16:1-8 (14th Day)

Exodus 16:9-21 (15th Day)

Exodus 16:27-35 (16th Day)

Psalm 95 (All Days)

Colossians 1:15-23 (14th Day)

Ephesians 2:11-22 (15th Day)

John 4:1-6 (16th Day)

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The story which unites the assigned portions of Exodus is one of divine fidelity and human inconstancy.  Yet again people grumbled and failed to trust that God would provide in a timely fashion.  Out of faithfulness sinful acts flowed like a mighty river of perfidy.

This is a typical human pattern, is it not?  We should trust God, saying with Psalm 95:1,

Come, let us sing to the LORD;

let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979)

Yet often grumble then we hoard needlessly and out of faithlessness.

Forty years long I detested that generation and said,

“This people are wayward in their hearts;

they do not know my ways.”

–Psalm 95:10, The Book of Common Prayer (1979)

Our worst behaviors usually flow from bad attitudes.  Out of such faithlessness we erect barriers between God and ourselves.  We do either that or we refuse to tear down such obstacles.  Out of such infidelity we build barriers between ourselves and others.  We do do either that or we refuse to tear down such obstacles.  The readings from Colossians and Ephesians speak of reconciliation via Christ.  This contradicts the human behaviors I have just mentioned.

Our faithful work is to cooperate with God, not to grumble and hoard greedily out of a sense of anxiety and insecurity.  Our task is to function as instruments of grace.  John 4:2 reads:

…although it was not Jesus himself but his disciples who baptized….

The New Revised Standard Version:  Catholic Edition (1993)

Our Lord and Savior’s disciples, despite their well-documented shortcomings, were crucial to the success of the Jesus movement, which became Christianity.  Likewise, we modern Christians have a mandate to show Jesus to others.  We cannot do this well unless we lay aside certain spiritual baggage.  We will remain deeply flawed, of course, but God can still shine through the cracks in our pots.

What kinds of attitudes will we seek to have toward God and each other?  We are powerless, of course, to do everything necessary on our own power.  Yet our attitudes matter greatly.  What we do is important.  So, by grace, may we succeed in fulfilling the sacred tasks God has assigned to us and which, hopefully, the best parts of our free wills want to complete.  May we do it because it is the right thing to do.  May we do it because it glorifies God.  May we do it because it helps others.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 25, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SQUANTO, COMPASSIONATE HUMAN BEING

THE FEAST OF JAMES OTIS SARGENT HUNTINGTON, FOUNDER OF THE ORDER OF THE HOLY CROSS

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http://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2014/01/14/anxiety-versus-faithfulness/

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Devotion for the Fourth Day of Easter: Wednesday in Holy Week (LCMS Daily Lectionary)   10 comments

Above:  The Gathering of the Manna

Exodus and Hebrews, Part XI: Faith, Apostasy, and Judgment

APRIL 7, 2021

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Blessed Lord, who caused all holy scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 236

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The Assigned Readings:

Exodus 16:13-35

Psalm 99 (Morning)

Psalms 8 and 118 (Evening)

Hebrews 10:19-39

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A Related Post:

Prayer:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/02/27/prayer-for-wednesday-of-easter-week/

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The same stone which the builders rejected

has become the chief cornerstone.

This is the LORD’s doing,

and it is marvelous in our eyes.

On this day the LORD has acted;

we will rejoice and be glad in it.

–Psalm 118:22-24, The Book of Common Prayer (1979)

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We humans use the word “faith” to mean different things.  We have faith in one another.  We keep the faith.  We adhere to one faith tradition or another or none at all.  Likewise, the Bible uses the word “faith” to mean different things.  For St. Paul the Apostle faith was a matter of both attitudes and works.  After all, as a man or woman thinks, so he or she is.  In the Letter of James, however, faith is a mater of intellectual assent to theological propositions.  So, according to that definition, one must pair faith with works; faith alone is inadequate.  And, in the Letter to the Hebrews, faith is that which enables a persecuted Christian not to shrink back, and therefore to retain the pleasure of God.  In Hebrews 11:1

Faith means that we are certain of the things we hope for, convinced of the thing we do not see.

(translated by William Barclay)

The Israelites did see in Exodus.  They saw repeatedly.  They saw how God liberated them from slavery in Egypt.  They saw God feed them and provide drinkable water for them in the desert.  And still many of them grumbled.  Many of them lacked faith according to any of the Biblical definitions.  Others had it then lost it.

The author of the Letter to the Hebrews wrote

It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

–10:31, The New Jerusalem Bible

while warning against apostasy.  Read the narrative in Exodus:  judgment and mercy coexisted.  Human actions led to consequences, positive or negative much of the time.  But God was patient for a long time.  That was merciful.  Then judgment came, and the liberated generation doomed itself never to enter the Promised Land.

May we, by combination of grace and free will, delight in God until the end.  And may God delight in us.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 2, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT STEPHEN OF SWEDEN, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY, BISHOP, AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF THE MARTYRS OF LYONS (A.K.A. SAINT BLANDINA AND HER COMPANIONS)

THE FEAST OF REINHOLD NIEBUHR, UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST THEOLOGIAN

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http://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/exodus-and-hebrews-part-xi-faith-apostasy-and-judgment/

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Devotion for the Third Day of Easter: Tuesday in Easter Week (LCMS Daily Lectionary)   10 comments

Above:  An Oasis

Exodus and Hebrews, Part X: Grumbling Versus Gratitude

APRIL 6, 2021

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Blessed Lord, who caused all holy scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 236

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The Assigned Readings:

Exodus 15:19-16:12

Psalm 98 (Morning)

Psalms 66 and 116 (Evening)

Hebrews 10:1-18

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A Related Post:

Prayer:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/02/27/prayer-for-tuesday-of-easter-week/

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How shall I repay the LORD

fora ll the good things he has done for me?

I will lift up the cup of salvation

and call upon the Name of the LORD.

I will fulfill my vows to the LORD

in the presence of all his people.

–Psalm 116:10-12, The Book of Common Prayer (1979)

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The sharp pivot from gratitude to grumbling occurred in Exodus 15:24, six verses after the conclusion of the Song of Moses (and the Israelites) and three verses after Miriam’s chant.  That did not take long, although the text does not indicate how much time passed, other than more than three days had passed.  And, given that the issue was drinkable water in the desert, one might understand why people complained.  If one were in that situation, one might grumble also.

Yet that is not the point; lack of faith in God’s provisions is.  Was God going to liberate the Israelites only to let them die in the desert?  No, the people would have enough to meet their needs, even if they did not always like what God provided and how God provided it.  Grumbling persisted.  Much gratitude would have been in order instead.

This is our story, is it not?  We–you, O reader, and I–are much like those Israelites.  We ought to be more grateful than we are.  And we have an additional reason for gratitude:  Instead of having to rely on annual sacrifices for the forgiveness of sins, we have the benefit of Christ, the greatest High Priest, who has done the hardest work already.  The rest of the hard work is ours.  That hard work is to leave behind in our spiritual Egypt all the grumbling and ingratitude as we depend on God in the wilderness.  That generation of Israelites did not do so, and therefore did not enter the Promised Land.  How will your journey end?  How will my journey end?  That remains for free will to determine.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 2, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT STEPHEN OF SWEDEN, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY, BISHOP, AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF THE MARTYRS OF LYONS (A.K.A. SAINT BLANDINA AND HER COMPANIONS)

THE FEAST OF REINHOLD NIEBUHR, UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST THEOLOGIAN

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http://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/exodus-and-hebrews-part-x-grumbling-versus-gratitude/

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