WILDERNESS: Wonder Bread

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April 24, 2020

Exodus 16:31-36 (NIV)

31 The people of Israel called the bread manna. It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey. 32 Moses said, “This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Take an omer of manna and keep it for the generations to come, so they can see the bread I gave you to eat in the wilderness when I brought you out of Egypt.’”

33 So Moses said to Aaron, “Take a jar and put an omer of manna in it. Then place it before the Lord to be kept for the generations to come.”

34 As the Lord commanded Moses, Aaron put the manna with the tablets of the covenant law, so that it might be preserved. 35 The Israelites ate manna forty years, until they came to a land that was settled; they ate manna until they reached the border of Canaan.

36 (An omer is one-tenth of an ephah.)

CONSIDER THIS

Today, we see very deliberate and concrete steps taken by Moses to insure the miraculous story of the daily bread of manna will be forever remembered.

“This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Take an omer of manna and keep it for the generations to come, so they can see the bread I gave you to eat in the wilderness when I brought you out of Egypt.’”

The entire story of God is a story of immense mystery. When Almighty God intervenes in the life and times of the human race, no matter how profound the act, it immediately becomes history. It shifts in an instant from the present to the past. Human history, however, can never contain Divine mystery. It must be encoded by the Holy Spirit into sacred memory. 

This is what the Bible is. The Bible is the authoritative Holy Spirit-encoded memory of Divine mystery. The ambition of Holy Scripture is to unfold the memory in a way that brings us inside of the mystery. Biblical remembrance supernaturally ushers the events of history into the present reality in a way that leads to a dynamic encounter of the living God. The time-space continuum seems to collapse, creating the effect of the event happening again. 

It’s why biblical remembrance is so often accompanied with food and beverage. The past comes into the present and encodes itself into our own memory through eating and drinking. This all sounds a bit abstract, until you remember this:

19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19

When Jesus says remembrance, the Greek word is “anamnesis.” It is far more than historical recollection. It points to a Holy Spirit inspired remembrance that ushers the event from the past into the present in such a way it is literally, “happening again.” It’s why the word sacrament means mystery. A sacrament creates the space where we are ushered through the memory into the Divine mystery—the indescribable, uncontainable, manifest presence of God. This is why the worship of God is so important.

We will know we are in a great awakening, when orthodoxy and doxology once again dwell in indissoluble union. The ancient forms of worship will once again be filled with the fire of God. We will know we are in a great awakening, when our gatherings around the Lord’s Table become so alive with the power of the Spirit and the presence of God we fall to the ground because the weight of glory has made it impossible to stand. 

So why God would later instruct them to put the jar of manna into the Ark of the Covenant along with the tablets containing the Ten Commandments? Far from a God-memories kind of scrapbooking exercise, this is the stuff of the movement. Biblical memory leads us into the Divine mystery which propels us forward into the Great Awakening movement of God’s Kingdom. When this happens we begin to see the rising up of sacred melody. 

Growing up in the church I have no real memory of the movement—just going through the motions. We will know we are in a great awakening when the mindless motions become reconnected to the miraculous movement. This will only happen as we recover the biblical memory and find ourselves encountering and embracing the Divine mystery: Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again! 

And by the way, in case you were wondering, “An omer is one-tenth of an ephah.” 

I’m glad we got that settled. That clears it up doesn’t it?! ;0) 

THE PRAYER

Father, reveal to me the deeper wisdom of your will and ways in the wilderness. Thank you for your Word, the Holy Writ, the one book which holds the secret and tells the story of the greatest mystery in the history of eternity: Emmanuel—God With Us. Let the wilderness be a season of deepened immersion into the Sacred Memory of Scripture in such a way that the mystery catches fire in me like a bush on fire not consumed. I feel it now. Let it burn. O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy his consolations, through Christ Our Lord, Amen.

THE QUESTION

O.K., this has been an alliterative journey today—memory, mystery, movement, melody, and so forth. Can you make sense of it, or is it a mess of a muddle? How are you stirred? 

P.S.

So the Farm Team has doubled down on our work of pioneering new seeds to sow for a great awakening. We are working with our friend, Winfield Bevins, (author of the celebrated Field Guide for Daily Prayer) to pioneer something special for families trying to do discipleship at home. Check it out here. If you are past that stage (and you never really are), pass this on to your children and their friends who are doing their best to parent little saints in these challenging days. 

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

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