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Greg's Weekly Word: "manna"

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. (Exodus 16:14-15)


We call it manna. But what was it, exactly? Some people have suggested it was a type of resin from tamarisk trees. Some compare it to coriander seed in size and color. The word itself sounds like Hebrew for, "What is it?" So, essentially, the Israelites named it "Whatchamacallit."


Whatever it was, though, the scripture is clear that it came from God. Manna was God's provision to the Israelites as they wandered in the desert. God's gift to them - just enough - as they wandered in the desert for 40 years in search of the Promised Land. It didn't solve all of their problems (just one, in fact: hunger). It didn't rescue them from the situation. It simply sustained them so they were able to keep going.


"Manna Dependence," Erin McGee Ferrell

2020 may feel like it is lasting 40 years. 2019 seems like a lifetime ago. It feels like years have passed since this past spring.


What is sustaining you in these days and weeks and months? How are you experiencing God's provision? What is giving you life? Worship and devotional study? Apples and pumpkins and all things fall? Good books or inspiring music? Time with family? Relationships of support and encouragement?


For me, this week, it was a rainy weekend spent mostly indoors (in pajamas) with my family. We watched movies and sports on TV. We made soup and brownies. We played games. It was a taste of sabbath in the midst of house projects and returning to school and activities beginning to ramp up again. It was just enough. It was manna.


What has been manna to you in recent days? I'd love to hear your stories. You can comment on this post, or send me an email. Whatever it is, you don't have to understand or explain it. Just receive it and be grateful. And perhaps see how you might offer some of God's manna to someone else, even if it doesn't seem like much...maybe just enough to keep them going.


We'll be talking more about manna and God's gracious provision on Sunday, and I invite you to join us for worship (10:30 am, in-person or live on the church's Facebook page). And in the meantime, enjoy and reflect on the poem below (which we will also hear in worship).* Hope to see you Sunday!


- GJD



"What Is It?"

by Steve Garnaas-Holmes


The word “Manna” in Hebrew

sounds like “What is it?”


It's not a name,

it's a question.


There is no handle for grace.

No tag, just a tug.


No logic,

just wonder.


You can't name it,

understand, measure it.


You can only take it in.

Like a kiss.


Grace comes to you.

It leaves a taste in your mouth.


All you can do is receive it,

and wonder.


And live

the question.



*To read more lectionary-based poems and reflections, visit Garnaas-Holmes' website, Unfolding Light.

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