Great Plains Daily Devotional for 9/6/2020

Today please be in prayer for

Tom Earhart
Omaha Living Faith UMC
Missouri River District
Jaime Farias
Omaha Living Faith UMC
Missouri River District
Ralph Gaines
Omaha Living Hope Mission Congregation
Missouri River District
Bethann Black
Omaha Maplewood UMC
Missouri River District

Today's Lectionary Text

Exodus 12:1-14

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: This month shall mark for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you. Tell the whole congregation of Israel that on the tenth of this month they are to take a lamb for each family, a lamb for each household. If a household is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join its closest neighbor in obtaining one; the lamb shall be divided in proportion to the number of people who eat of it. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a year-old male; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; then the whole assembled congregation of Israel shall slaughter it at twilight. They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. They shall eat the lamb that same night; they shall eat it roasted over the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted over the fire, with its head, legs, and inner organs. You shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly. It is the passover of the Lord. For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both human beings and animals; on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live: when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.

This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord; throughout your generations you shall observe it as a perpetual ordinance.

Today's Devotional

Today’s Scripture provides the People of God with the description of and instructions for the Passover. It is a significant passage, describing what would become a very important time in the life of the People. This time as I read it, in the NRSV, I particularly noticed that the People were to have their loins girded. I thought I knew what girded meant, but I checked in some other versions just to be sure. The Message uses “fully dressed” while the Contemporary English Version puts there “dressed and ready to travel”. As printed here the Common English Bible replaces “girded” with “dressed.”  In addition, God’s People were to be shod or sandaled and have walking sticks in hand. Finally, they would need to eat the meal in a hurry.

In other words, the People of God needed to be ready. They were to be prepared to get out of there quickly. They would have to go from their homes and place themselves in the larger world. It would be dangerous, in fact completely unworkable, to stay. It would be very scary and threatening to leave.
What would ultimately happen was unknown.
 
Today we too need to be ready. We need to be dressed and ready for action. Each day, the unknown looms before us. It is downright scary. What is safe? What is dangerous? It seems like the scary and the dangerous confront us whichever way we turn. Wouldn’t it just be better to hunker in the bunker, not thinking beyond our own selves, our own comfort?
We know that quarantining is appropriate as a response to a pandemic. In this situation, then, how do we reach beyond self? How do we take the Good News into the world when we are staying in our own space? Are we ready to move beyond our own boundaries, in our minds and with our creativity, to discover ways to offer hope in the midst of great chaos and hurt?

Prayer is a great place to start. God cares; God walks with us in the chaos. God knows there are sick folk, protesters, fire fighters, scientists, front-line health care workers, economists, government officials who need a Holy presence. Maybe as we pray we will be filled with small, medium, and large ideas about how to offer hope.
Our list could include making phone calls to those who are alone and isolated. Collecting non-perishables and personal care items for food pantries or blessing boxes works well. Assembling and collecting personal hygiene kits for hurricane victims would be a gift. (Instructions can be found at  umcmission.org/umcor/save/relief-supply-network/hygiene kit). Collecting and donating school supplies-- a few or a set of the entire list -- will show educators, students, and families that God does care. Including the children in your home in these projects is a great way to help them be ready and get out there.

The list could go on and on. We each have an imagination that will help us serve in spite of restrictions. Be ready. Respond to the nudge to share our hope, in God’s name, with the world.

-Dianne Tombaugh
Retired Deacon, Wichita,KS

dtombaugh@greatplainsumc.org
 

Prayer for Reflection

Hope of the World, nudging God, give us strength and creativity to serve you with our best selves. Amen.

 

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