Lectionary Year A
September 22, 2002
Exodus 16:2-15

Contemporary Address


I will preach from this text to a small congregation in a small town, a bedroom community for the state capital whom I served as a part time interim for 2 years recently completed. They are calling a full time Designated Pastor to lead them into Redevelopment with the help of Presbyteryís resources. They are as nervous as they are eager to get on with it, that vast unknown known as Redevelopment. They realize it is survival tactics for this little congregation. At the end of the worship service I will moderate a congregational meeting to call the Designated Pastor, whom I know well.


I certainly hope to give them some real hope that God is supplying them with what itíll take to get on with Redevelopment and with another New Pastorís ministry.


ďGodís Providence When We Need ItĒ

So, here we are, at the end of the vacancy. The time of wondering how the interim period will end has come to pass. Itís over. Now itís time to get on with the ďRest of the StoryĒ, as Paul Harvey calls it.

Their Wilderness and Ours
Sinaiís desert and the wanderersí problems there were admittedly undesirable, at least. God even let them bellyache and grouse as they suffered their trials out there. Our trying to cope with this high tech Information Age leaves us a bit bewildered, too, to say nothing of having to face the unknowns of Redevelopment.

Their Perceptions of God and Ours
Godís glory magnetized them to look and to behold divine glory out there in that desert.
We can find Godís glory if we look for it. A friend who helped me get through majoring in philosophy and seminary, too, had a notation in the margin of some of his text books, "N. B.". He had to teach me that it means, ďNote BeneĒ, note well. We need to note well Godís glorious presence.

Their Responses and Ours
They admitted their ignorance, ďNever have we seen anything like this before,Ē They acknowledged. Moses knew. He told them what it was that God was giving them. Evidently, they took advantage of these gifts, and even finally learned to follow Godís directions on how best to utilize them.
We, too, are permitted to own up to our ignorance of what the next few years will bring for this congregation.

God led the early Israelites through the wilderness to the Promised Land and will lead us through Redevelopment, too. They survived their toils and we will, at least, survive our ordeals doing Redevelopment for the sake of the future of a Presbyterian witness in this county. They responded faithfully and obediently to Godís promises and so will we here and now as well as on into the future years.

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