Rest – Exodus 16:27-35

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“The Lord said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to keep my commandments and instructions? See! The Lord has given you the sabbath, therefore on the sixth day he gives you food for two days; each of you stay where you are; do not leave your place on the seventh day.”

This makes me laugh!

“How long!” declares the Lord, then as if to make his point even clearer… the Lord says See!… its like just look at them. I give them a rule for their own good, for peace, happiness, and balance, and they go and goof even that up!

We don’t get it. Puppies get it, like Freyja there… the Man Child home from College on Spring Break seems to get it.  But many of us don’t.  We’d work until we dropped. Many people work because they fear if they don’t there won’t be enough. That fear drives us to do nearly everything too much, except trust.

The lesson from Genesis on and again today in our reading from Exodus is that rest is important.  In fact, the only way to truly have enough is to rest, to Sabbath in God’s grace.

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Reconcile – Ephesians 2:11-22

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I admit it, using a picture of a candy display to illustrate the word “reconcile” is maybe a little lame.  Long story short, I am trying to eat healthier, and lose weight, and this stuff is my downfall, I was trying to justify a purchase when I went to the store tonight, but I just could not reconcile the two ideas.

Now I believe there is nothing wrong with sweets in moderation, it’s just that I don’t do moderation well when it comes to sweets!  So I can not reconcile the two!  The struggle, as they say, is real!

Reconciliation thought is as hard to live out often as it is to take a picture to represent it! In our lesson from Ephesians today, it is God who does the reconciling.  We are prone to “othering” to “us and theming” it is God who brings us together in Christ. We are no longer strangers and aliens, we are family. God does the heavy lifting and opens the doors for us to live life fully in him.   I know I likely just made it seem so simple, God does it and poof!  No… life as reconciled people is involved, and it doesn’t always happen on our time table.  This is where we lean into the promise of God, we are freed to be the church and as it states at the end of our reading today… “ with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him, the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord;  in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.  

So I guess I’ll work on resisting the candy to improve my part of the dwelling place of God!

Provide – Exodus 16:1-8

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Ok, waiting is no my favorite thing to do. So I do things like this. Silly I know, but sometimes quiet times, times when are forced to wait, can be times of great creativity, enjoyment, and growth. That is if you are not hungry.

If you are hungry, then all bets are off.

The people of Israel, are whining in our passage from Exodus.  You can’t blame them really… where was dinner?  Out in the wilderness of Sin (what a name) they start figuring out that soon, their stores of food are going to run out and there is not a Costco or Sam’s club for miles or rather centuries!

They complain, they whine, and the may very well be what we call in our house, “Hangry” that upset that comes when you are hungry and any little thing will crawl under your skin until you fill your tummy.

God provides, as God does.  But there are directions, there are limits, but even this is good, it helps to teach a lesson, about dependence on God the provider. I think God likes providing for us, look at that is given to us, from families, to shelter, to beautiful sunsets and so much more.  Today may we remember our dependence, and in so doing realize our independence to do what is needed for the other, knowing that we are provided for, frees us to be and do wonderful creative, joyful, and maybe even silly things!

Create – Isaiah 65:17-25

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So today the word is “create.” I hadn’t gotten a photo yet today by the time our congregational council met. Pastor Dom, that’s him up there, was leading devotions tonight and used the #lentphoto17 Devotional. Now while that is not unusual, he was the writer for today’s word, so the Creator reflected on the word create.

Today in our reading from Isaiah we are reminded that God still creates, and will create a new heavens and a new earth. This ongoing and promised future creation of God is filled with hope and joy!

The good news is that God wants us to be a part of that ongoing creation, and doing of good things. So much so that he sent his Son so that in him we might be a new creation!

In many ways, Lent is about creation. We focus on the penitential, but that is to lead to joy, to positives, to re-creation in Christ. For that, I give thanks and seek to take my small part in working with God to create all that will yet be.

Built – Hebrews 3:1-6

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I love legos and have played with them about as long as they have been available in the USA. This is a Mixel; I didn’t know what that was until I got one. He is HOOGI; I guess he likes to hug but is a tad on the slow side speed wise… But I built him, and he now sits in a place of honor on my iMac.

Lego’s have changed a ton since I was a kid, with Mixels, Mindstorm, Bionicle, and more. Back in my day we various squares, rectangles, and occasional odd triangular pieces, but nothing like they have today.

This isn’t either good or bad; it is just is. The key with lego’s no matter what kind is to build, to imagine, to create. I love the last line in our reading today. “Christ, however, was faithful over God’s house as a son, and we are his house if we hold firm the confidence and the pride that belongs to hope.”

If God is the builder of the house, Jesus uses us then as the critical parts of that house. We are in Christ the very house of God! Let that sink in! We are the good stuff redeemed in Christ, created by God and in confidence and the pride that belongs to hope we can be all that God needs us to be in the world. That is pretty awesome.

Saved – John 3:1-17

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So this is a bowl we fed the kids from when they were little.  It is not very deep, but it is good sized. It has served up everything from mashed peas, to spaghetti O’s, pizza rolls to quiche and much more.  I am really glad we didn’t get rid of it when the kids outgrew it, it has come in handy for many things… including my occasional snack of nachos!

Today’s reading has within it one of the most dearly loved portions of scripture, John 3:16. Luther called it the Gospel in miniature, for it so clearly and simply sums up the good news!  As much as I love that passage, I may love the one following it even more. Ok… I’ll include it not everyone has this one memorized. “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”  There is the day’s word… Saved.

There is the day’s word… Saved. No matter what we have been through, we are worth saving! That is Gospel, that is good news, that is worth keeping close to your heart because I think you’ll be amazed how often it will come in handy.