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Editor’s note: This Lent season, Bread Blog is running a series of devotionals written by staff, alumni, and friends of the San Francisco Theological Seminary, which is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A).
By Lora East
At my first reading of this Scripture passage, my heart was really going out to Moses as a leader experiencing turmoil within his community. But as I continued to ponder this text, it was actually to the Israelites that I was feeling most connected. The Israelites are a people that have experienced trauma and are searching for a Promised Land of belonging and security. They are freed from slavery, yet wandering in a desert where they are tired, thirsty, and scared. Time and time again they act out of these fearful and desperate places and turn their exasperation onto Moses, who then turns to God crying for help. The behavior we observe by the Israelites is only too familiar. How often in the last few months have you felt hopeless? Fearful? Angry? How often have you found yourself asking the question: Is God among us or not?
As I write this devotion, I'm returning from a weekend celebrating the ordination of a friend and graduate of SFTS. As the preacher affirmed the call on my friend's life and her gifts and preparedness to go and serve, she also said that she wished she could tell my friend it will be easy. She wished that these weren't challenging times to serve Christ's church. Our communities are experiencing change and challenge, discerning the presence of God and in many cases asking: Is the God among us or not?
While that is the question that ends our passage, it is not the end of the story. God leads Moses to the rock, commands him to strike it and for water to flow forth. From a seemingly dry place, from the last space we would ever go, comes the water of life. And Moses is not alone, for not only is God acting on his behalf, but this miracle occurs in the sight of the elders who are then able to go forth and proclaim what they have seen.
Where have you experienced God's presence in these days of thirst and fear? Where have you witnessed God at work in yourself or others? Where do you find a Word of hope, a blessing, a shoulder on which to lean? When have you been surprised by God, finding water in unexpected places, healing flowing forth from dry places?
As we move through these days of turmoil and confusion, discernment and struggle, may we remember that we do not travel alone. We are in this together. We are not abandoned by God. God is among us, at work in ways known and unknown, seen and unseen, bringing us forth into a land where we thirst and fear no more. May our strength come from not only knowing this in our minds, but from feeling its truth in the air we breathe, in the beating of our hearts, and in every fiber of our being.
Lora East earned her master of divinty in 2016 from the San Francisco Theological Seminary.
Hunger and food insecurity add at least $160 billion a year to U.S. healthcare costs.
By Jordan Teague
Because the world has made so much progress against hunger in recent decades, those who face hunger, malnutrition, and extreme poverty are increasingly likely to live in areas currently experiencing or recovering from crises. They are the hardest to reach and the most...
Improving nutrition not only alleviates human suffering, but also improves the conditions that create poverty in the first place. For every $1 invested in...
A brief examination of the biblical approach to health as a hunger issue.
Includes an introduction to the issue, a Scriptural reflection, practical actions you can take, and a prayer.
In this issue: Another Great Year for Bread; Catholics Begin Observance of Holy Year of Mercy; Serving on ‘God’s Wave Length’ for 39 Years; and more.
A wide array of the nation’s faith leaders have come together on the eve of Pope Francis’ arrival in the United States to commit ourselves to encourage our communities to work for the end of hunger by 2030 and, toward that end, for a shift in U.S. national priorities.
We are deeply pleased...
A set of how-to sheets for carrying out advocacy and fact sheets on the current issues Bread for the World is working on.
For new and current Bread grassroots hunger activists.
Ideal as a starter toolkit for new Bread activists or as a set of updates for current activists.
Learn more about the principles that Bread for the World supports regarding health reform.
Estados Unidos es una nación de inmigrantes. A través de su historia gente de todas partes del mundo se han trasladado aquí y han contribuido en sus comunidades y a nuestra vida nacional. Hoy, al igual que en el pasado, los inmigrantes continúan creando prosperidad y enriquecimiento para esta...