At our worship we have been traveling with the ancient Hebrew people in their wanderings in the wilderness. Last night we came to the part where they run out of food, are very hungry, and complain to Moses, “If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” (Exodus 16)
Just after this whining, God provides that bread-like substance called “manna.” The story is very clear that the people were only supposed to collect just enough for that day’s needs. Manna literally means ”What is it.” It’s called this because when the Hebrews first saw it they said, “What is that?” The point of the story is that whatever it was, the manna was what God provided and it was enough.
So last night at our brief, quiet reflective worship service where our confirmation class is helping me lead worship, I had someone pass around a basket of crackers. I asked each one of us to take a cracker. I invited all of us then to eat a cracker as quietly as it’s possible to eat a cracker and to think of it as a way in which God is addressing or providing for a certain and specific need of our life.
I was the last one to get a cracker and when I reached into the basket… there was one cracker left…..I showed that minor little miracle to the quiet cracker-eating crowd and said, “What Is That!”
Maybe it was just a coincidence, an odd alignment of who was in the sanctuary at 7 on a Wednesday night and took a cracker out of the basket. Some people will insist God was highlighting the scripture I had just read, reminding us as a congregation that whatever it is we need, God will provide enough and probably not a whole lot more. At my very liberal seminary we would call this “Weird Stuff.” Whatever it was, it was something powerful, and I’m going with calling it one of those things that you had to be there to fully grasp.
You know something like this happens just about every time we are together at EPUMC. Last fall we called it “Great Things Are Happening Here.” These days we are calling it “Finding our Place in God’s Story by Becoming Servants of Jesus Christ.” I really don’t care what you call what happened last night -- a miracle, the grace of God, a coincidence, weird stuff, or even manna from heaven…what I want to invite you to do is to be ready for whatever it is… when you show up at church.