Thursday, February 14, 2013

Today’s text

Deuteronomy 26:1-9

When you have come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess, and you possess it, and settle in it, you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you harvest from the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you shall put it in a basket … . When the priest takes the basket from your hand and sets it down before the altar of the Lord your God, you shall make this response before the Lord your God: ‘A wandering Aramean was my ancestor; he went down into Egypt and lived there as an alien, few in number, and there he became a great nation, mighty and populous. When the Egyptians treated us harshly and afflicted us, by imposing hard labor on us, we cried to the Lord, the God of our ancestors; the Lord heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression. The Lord brought us out of Egypt … and brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.


You shall remember, for remembering restores and reinforces identity. It tells you who you are, where you have come and what you shall do.

When Israel came into the promised land the first fruits every year were to be offered to God as an offering that they might remember what had happened to their ancestors and how they came to be in this good and gracious place.

They brought offerings not because God needed to be fed but because they needed to offer themselves in thanks, a way of celebrating and reliving the goodness of God and of the life they lived, lest they forget who they are.

Those who forget begin to live in ways that contradict their inner being, their character. They get lost, allowing others to choose how they see and act.

The ways and opinions of those around them assume the role of their own conscience, and they no longer act according to their own purpose

The central question of living as a child of God is to remember and ask, “Who am I? Who are we, and what does this mean for how we should live and act?”

Like the ancient people of faith, we need to remember are people who have received many rich blessings. We receive life as gift. We didn’t make ourselves or fashion creation.

In this good land, we receive a way of living that is the envy of most of the world.

No less than the people of Israel, we are chosen, wanted and loved by God who writes our names on the palms of his hands.

The Holy One claims us in our baptism, fills our empty hands and hearts with the bread of life and pours unmerited forgiveness and constant love into our being through every beauty, every gift and every love we know--each a sacrament of the love of God who seeks to touch us each day and make us truly alive.

Who are we? We are a people gifted, a people bound to greet each day with two words. “Thank you.”

When we don’t we begin our days this way we begin to forget, and consequences soon come.

Our joy and gratitude for life is diminished. We are more likely to be saddened when life challenges. We are weaker.

Who are we? We are a people bound to celebrate the love of the God who seeks us at every hand. We are a people who can bask in the knowledge that there is nothing in all creation that can stop the constant loving of God … for us.

This makes a people bound for joy, for strength, for hope, a generous people who have received much and share generously.

That’s who we are. When we remember the days are beautiful, laced with gratitude and our hope is boundless.

Remember, … and live.

Pr. David L. Miller

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