When I was a child, our family liked to go camping on Hornby Island, an island between Vancouver Island and the mainland. One year when we were there with friends of the family we left the beach we were camping on and picnicked at a nearby beach. When it was time to go home the mothers and the children accepted the challenge to walk back to our beach, on the promise that “it was just around the corner”.
So we set off, and we rounded the corner. We walked the length of the next beach and rounded the next corner. Still no campsite in view. So we walked the length of the beach and rounded the next corner, and the next and the next. Finally hours later we arrived at “our” beach to be greeted with the question, “What took you so long?”
I was reminded of that incident as I listened to the sermon this morning. Our minister was talking about the experience of the people of Israel as the wandered through the desert. Every morning they woke and collected more manna, and walked on. The promise of a homeland was there, and yet illusive. Every morning they collected manna and walked on.
He talked about the difficulty and challenge of holding onto faith in those moments and days, and weeks and months and years when the promise of God seems out of reach. It might be just around the corner, but we can’t see around the corner. We simply need to trust that God is still directing our footsteps until finally in his timing we arrive at the fulfillment of his promise.
The sermon went on to point out that on entry into the promise the manna stopped, and the people ate of the produce of the land. It struck me that this must have been a frightening moment. For 40 years there was manna every day, and now it stopped. What if they couldn’t find food? What if the crops failed? What if? What if? What if?
So I started to think that sometimes we grow comfortable in the time before the blessing. We learn that we can count on God for the needs of the moment and we forget to believe that the blessing is possible. Yet, the people of Israel did sit down to a meal on the first day in the promised land. A meal of unleavened bread and roasted wheat. And in that meal they celebrated the Passover, the meal that speaks of the promised (and completed) redemption of God. The sermon then reminded us that the Lord’s Supper is just such a meal.
When Jesus celebrated the Lord’s Supper it was the Passover Meal. A meal of promise and hope and redemption. In that celebration he instituted a new meal, a meal of promise and hope and redemption. This time we are being led forth into more than a new home, we are being led forth into the promise of an eternal home. God’s promise, now and forever.
In it all, we are called to trust.
Yet for all of us, trust is the problem. We often can’t see past our circumstances. We don’t want to look past the daily manna, to the promised feast. We fear what lies just around the corner for both reasons. The sight of the long trudge to the next corner is a blow to our faith and a discouraging set back. Yet the sight of the promise means letting go of all those things we have counted on in the desert time, and trusting that God has truly led us into the bounty.
Are we ready for the promise? Are we ready for the blessing? It is just around the corner, and we simply need to walk forth with confidence and faith.
That is the challenge for today.
Today’s prayer: JUST AROUND THE CORNER
Jesus we love you, and we place our trust in the promise of hope and redemption you have brought us
Unleash in us the faith to trust you to fulfill that promise in our lives
Shower us with the grace that we need to believe and to remain constant in faith
Teach us that even though we cannot see the promise that it is there
Announce the coming of your kingdom
Remind us of your grace and your love
Open our ears to hear, and our hearts to respond
Utter the words that will encourage us along the way
Nourish our faith
Direct our feet
Teach us patience in the waiting
Help us overcome despair
Encourage us in confident living
Order our lives in your will
Renew our faith every morning
Never leave us
Enter our being and guide us in your will
Release our potential that we may be all that you have called us to be. Amen
graphics courtesy of Pixaby.com