Exodus 16: 4-15
Sometimes we may hear that someone says that the past is gone and the future is uncertain; and the present is all that is clear. However, today’s passage believes in just the opposite. It is that the past and the future are very clear, and the present and our choices are quite uncertain.
Along the way in the desert sojourn, God kept the Israelites alive with the manna; the manna, the flaky things that they had to go out and gather enough for that day. Everyone had to get their own day after day. It wasn’t enough; it wasn’t much; it was just enough to keep them going on the journey.
This lasted forty years, which was fourteen thousand six hundred days. We may imagine that they ate raw manna, boiled manna, baked manna, ground manna. It was how they survived
until they came into the promised land, the land of Canaan, so that manna became for them the symbol of God’s very practical and physical care for them.
The Scripture says it was “like coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.” But the best metaphor of the manna comes from its name in Hebrew, which translates, “what is it?” “What is it?” That was how they were nurtured with questions, not certain answers of “What is it?” during their wilderness journey.
If our manna has to drop straight out of heaven, then chances are we are going to go hungry a lot. If, on the other hand, we are willing to look at everything that comes to us as coming to us from God, then, there will be no end to the manna in our life. A can of beans will be manna. Grits will be manna. A loaf of bread will be manna.
So, isn’t it striking that so many of our prayers are actually prayers for certainty and clarity? But, the point of our journey is learning to walk by faith in an uncertain present.
There are so many questions about this pandemic—when will it end? How can we best be safe? And “what is it?” What is certain for us is that day by day God is still made known to us in the simple things that sustain our lives—some bread, some love, some laughs, some tears, some worry, some anxiety, some breath, and some regret. What is certain for us is that we are still called to go out and gather manna enough for one day, living one day at a time, by being grateful and thankful to God for what God has given us.
We have just started our new journey in 2022. There seems to be lots of uncertainties that lies ahead of us. But, I invite us to do what we have been told to do as Apostle Paul told the Philippi church — keep on doing whatever is honorable, and just, and pure, and pleasing, and commendable.
Let’s keep on worshiping together; keep on eating together, laughing together, serving together,
and growing together. Keep on looking for the face of Christ in those who are not like us. And do it again and again and again.
Thanks be to God.