Pay attention to the tension in your body. Let go of it and any expectations to do anything other than God’s will today. Prepare yourself to hear God’s word.
Joshua 5:9-12 (NRSV)
The LORD said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away from you the disgrace of Egypt.” And so that place is called Gilgal to this day.
While the Israelites were camped in Gilgal they kept the passover in the evening on the fourteenth day of the month in the plains of Jericho. On the day after the passover, on that very day, they ate the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain. The manna ceased on the day they ate the produce of the land, and the Israelites no longer had manna; they ate the crops of the land of Canaan that year.
On this fourth Sunday of Lent, we may be weary of our Lenten discipline, tired of doing without things enjoyable, or of taking on things cumbersome. This passage snaps me into proper perspective as I remember that the Israelites were ending not 40 days, but 40 years of bare-bones living. That’s a long time to feel the sting of austerity as a community of wanderers, but it is also a long time to feel the comfort of a provident God. God parted the Red Sea and later the Jordan; God gave the Israelites their daily bread, tasty quail, water from rocks, protection, and guidance. In God’s good time, the people were delivered to the land long promised.
This part is what I notice anew: the crucial transition from cared for to caring for. God has long cared for each of us and has given us exactly what we need to thrive as a disciple on this great journey. Maybe today is the day for us to realize that we’re ready to stop relying on the dutifully delivered manna. Today, let’s set out to make cakes and cook grains, to sow seeds and share the harvest with fellow sojourners.
Great Provider, thank you for painstakingly preparing us for service in your kingdom and for lovingly leading us. Help us to share the bounty of your blessings with everyone we meet today. Amen.
Go with God.