Jesus said, “Those who seek should not stop seeking until they find. When they find, they will be disturbed. When they are disturbed, they will marvel, and will rule over all. (Gospel of Thomas 2:1-4, SV)
This post is the fourth in a series. This series explores how we might leave Egypt –the American Empire and travel to the Promised Land—the Beloved Community of All Peoples where peace and plenty prevail. (To read the full series, start with Becoming a Wilderness People.)
Once we cross the river beyond worldly life and those temptations that would bring us back, we must learn to trust in that which compelled us to leave. But we cannot see God, so how can we, who have learned to orient via our senses and intellect, find our way forward?
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.” (Exodus 16: 4 NRSV)
During this time of traveling in the wilderness, we inch forward, learning to live by that which God provides daily, trusting that the little we get is sufficient.
…Those who gathered little had no shortage; they gathered as much as each of them needed. And Moses said to them, “Let no one leave any of it over until morning.” But they did not listen to Moses; some left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and became foul. (Exodus 16:18b-20a)
When we gather too much, wanting to believe that we can provide for ourselves, believing that now we have found the way, we will realize that we’re lost—our manna moldy and full of worms. This is our discipline, to live by daily bread. To believe that what God provides each day is enough. Through this practice alone we are shaped into instruments for the Divine.
Paul, like the Israelites, left behind a way of life to spread the Word of God. He turned his back on the Roman Empire and his prior understanding of God. Through an encounter with Christ, he was able to see beyond the reality created by the Roman Empire and the religious practices of his day. After some time in the wilderness, he became fully open to and trusted in God’s provision. He, like the story of the Exodus, persuades us to trust God fully so that we might live a truly meaningful life. Paul says,
“Don’t allow the seductive power of corruption to reign over your earthly life inducing you to submit to worldly desires. Don’t put any part of your body at the disposal of that power as an instrument for doing wrong, but put yourselves at God’s disposal as people who have been brought to life from the dead and present your bodies to God as instruments for doing right.” (Romans 6:12-13, SV)
So, I appeal to you, friends, as recipients of the wondrous mercy of God, to dedicate every fiber of your being to a life that is consecrated and pleasing to God, which is what enlightened worship ought to be. Don’t accept the life of this age as your model, but let yourselves be remodeled by the recovery of your true mind, so that you can discern what is consistent with God’s purposes –what is good, worthwhile, and completely genuine. (Romans 12:1-2, SV)
While the way toward the Promised Land is dark, every morning God provides fresh bread.
And the family of Israel called the name of it manna; which was like coriander seed, but white, and the taste of it like wafers with honey. (Exodus 16:31, QB)
Let us gather and share it. Through the transformation of our hearts and minds, we will come to trust the God of Israel who frees the captives. May we come to receive the grace we need to become a Church filled with lives empowered and sustained by manna.
Shining like morning dew.
But don’t get fat.
Take only what you need;
Trusting that One is All.
Just beyond the river;
Lilies swaying in a field.