Monday, September 21, 2015

Pentecost 18 B - Numbers 11:4-6, 10-16, 24-29

Numbers 11:4-6, 10-16, 24-29
The children of Israel, subsisting on manna and quail, weep in the wilderness because they long for the days in Egypt when they imagine they dined on finer fare. Truth is they were slaves in Egypt so it is unlikely that their task masters gave them fish to eat “for nothing”. We tend to color the past in ways that fill in the blanks of our present complaints. Sometimes we imagine the past was better than it could have been. Often we imagine it was worse than it was. But either way we are not satisfied with whatever is and therefore we long for what never was. And so the children of Israel throw a temper tantrum and Moses becomes despondent and the Lord becomes exceedingly angry and the dysfunctional Exodus family tries to figure out how to live together in the desert when no one is happy. When the very angry Lord calms down the despondent Moses is instructed to share the load and the solution to the people’s displeasure is the Spirit of the Lord resting upon the seventy appointed along with two others who were not approved which is often how God acts because the Spirit of the Lord cannot be contained or easily explained. The person who is most moved is Moses which means he will refrain from complaining, “why have you treated your servant so badly?” at least for the time being and get back to leading which is what God called him to do. And the children of Israel will quiet down and be grateful they have something to eat even if it is “what is it” (manna) and the same bird everyday.

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