My mother loves to cook. She always loved to try out new recipes, which unfortunately did not go over very well with her four young children. Unfortunately, her culinary skills were lost on us when we were young. Often she would spend hours preparing a new exotic dish, only to be met with cries of, “Oh, gross! What is this?”
That’s what the freed but hungry slaves said when God sent them out to gather food during their journey toward the promised land. The word “manna” actually means “what is this??”
A people set free from slavery prayed, “Give us our daily bread.” Manna was God’s answer.
God gave instructions to these pilgrims about the divine provisions:
Each morning the heads of households were go out and gather manna for that day.
Each householder was to gather the same amount for each person in his household.
On the 6th day they were to gather enough for 2 days.
On the 7th day they were not to gather at all.
Some funny things happened. Some gathered more than God instructed, but even so, they had nothing left over. Some gathered less, but still had enough. Those who tried to hoard for future days found that the manna spoiled overnight and became infested with worms. Those who went out to gather on the 7th day, found none.
This is the economy of God.
There is miraculously enough for each person, each and every day. God provides, we participate. We gather and we distribute. We are entrusted with this holy duty. If we keep too much for ourselves, it will spoil and become infested with worms. This may be metaphorical, but it’s worth considering during this season of Lent. We are entrusted with providing for all who are in our care, all who are unable to care for themselves. This is not metaphorical, and our failure to do so is also worth considering during this season of Lent.
God could feed the world without us, but for some reason, we are given the blessing and burden of putting food on the tables of the world. Our own children may scrunch up their noses and say, “gross, what is that?,” but many are hungry for the bread of Life. That is both metaphorical, and not.
Rev. Angie Wright