It took a year to read the Bible, then almost 9 months to read the Apocrypha. Now, I'm going to try to offer reflections on the Narrative Lectionary. But, I won't be posting daily--at least, for a while.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Gift that God Has Given Us, a reflection on Deuteronomy 26:1-5

We in the United States will celebrate Thanksgiving Day this Thursday. For help in planning, see the GBOD website for lectionary notes and lists of other sources. Here's an excerpt:
What feeds your soul?
It is no secret that many of us are driven by a soul-hunger almost impossible to articulate. The Thanksgiving holiday has, unfortunately, become a time to stuff ourselves with what we thought we wanted, while often neglecting what we need most -- Bread from heaven. Jesus declared himself to be the Bread of Life (verse 35), sent from heaven to satisfy the longings of the human soul (33). Have we discovered that God has provided both food and drink for the hunger and thirst of our souls?
When You Get There, a Reflection on Deuteronomy 26:1-5
The book of Deuteronomy as we have it is a reshaping of Moses' words in light of the later experience of exile. We read of the hope that Moses was sharing and realize that, even after failure and loss, we are still offered hope.

The passage begins, "When you have come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you..." We aren't where we want to be, but Moses says that we're going to be.

A second point that was true for Moses' first audience, for the readers of the compiled Deuteronomy, and then for us as well: we won't get there by ourselves--we are going as a congregation, and the achievement is not due solely to our own efforts; rather, the Lord God is making a gift.

Now, what are we supposed to do with this gift? Not hide it or hoard it. Rather than ownership, we have assumed something more like trusteeship. We are supposed to use this gift to continue God's work.

In Moses' time, the distribution was through the priests. We still use the church as one of our conduits.

And not just do it--Moses commands us to say what we are doing, and why.

I'm trying to imagine a church service at offering time when all of us sitting in the pews might say something--either individually or together--as we put our money in the plate. Once again, I am grateful for the choir who takes care of this part for us. Yet, I can't quit wondering what I would say to help me remember that it is God's gift to me that I am sharing with others that day.

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