DEVOTIONS From Pastor Barbara, Holy Redeemer Lutheran Church, Newark, CA
MARCH 30, 2020
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. 1 Exodus 16:4
Does anybody else feel like we’ve been sheltered in place for many weeks now? Only two, really. It began at midnight, March 16th here in the Bay Area. I’m beginning to wonder how the Israelites did it. How they survived 40 years – years! – wandering in the desert. It makes the time we’ll be spending seem short by comparison. We have a timeline, it is tenuous, but at least it isn’t a 40 year timeline!
At first, did those people of God think it would only be a matter of weeks? Frankly, I don’t want to go there, but I can feel the desperation rising up in me when I do let myself wonder just how long this will actually be…. Yet they made it, the whole forty years, as an intact community, still thriving and growing, in spite of the limitations they were facing. Those wanderers became a blessing to the whole world, just like God promised to Abraham and Sarah. So how did they do it?
Remember the manna. Those Israelites got what they needed each day, day by day by day for forty years. They had God and they had each other and God’s faithfulness was a constant in an uncertain world. They made it because, each day, they had what they needed. And so do we.
I’m so grateful to have a ringside seat to 21st century manna – every day! You all have risen up to be there for each other and for the communities we live in. I know that folks who can shop are reaching out and shopping for those who cannot leave home. I know that folks are working in essential jobs to allow all of us to continue to have food and supplies, delivery services, hardware store, gas stations, and incredible medical care in spite of terrible shortages. I know that people with extra masks have donated them, along with money for food banks, and worked at the food banks, and helped others find transportation, and first responders are caring for birthday kids, and people are providing amazing worship opportunities, and bears in their windows, and reaching out to shut ins, and – the list goes on and on! You are a manna blessing!
One of the best manna blessings I’ve seen and experienced is how we pray for each other. For example, I was blessed to hear that someone who has been struggling to sleep well has begun praying for everyone in those dark hours of the night. Prayer has allowed them to fall back to sleep, resting in the presence of God. I feel those prayers. Whatever we feel, despair or hope, or anything in between, know that not only is God with you, someone is praying for you, too. Awesome. So, know that I, too, pray for you and know that God holds you!
Take good care and let’s share with each other the needs you see around you, or that you need help with, and let us connect folks together, so we can be manna blessings to each other!
1 Harper Bibles. NRSV Bible (Kindle Locations 3083-3084). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition