February 14, 2013

Remember and bow

SCRIPTURE: Deuteronomy 26:1-11 (NRSV)

The Book of Deuteronomy is comprised largely of three sermons of a very old Moses speaking to a new generation of people about to enter the Promised Land. In this text, Moses sounds a bit like a mom or dad driving their family on the journey of a lifetime with tired kids in the back seat complaining, “Are we there yet?” “Not yet, kids,” he responds, “But when we get there, I promise you that half the fun of this trip will be in looking back at the memories we are making right now. We’ll look back at pictures taken in Iowa’s “Field of Dreams.” We’ll laugh at running out of gas in Gallup. We’ll remember the thrill of seeing a bear and her cub in Yellowstone, the shiver of fear on the Grand Canyon Skywalk. We’ll recount sleeping under the stars in Joshua Tree. And you know what, it’s hard to appreciate it right now on this God-awful barren stretch of desert, but it will be worth it, the minute you see the Pacific Ocean. I promise. ‘Then we’ll rejoice in all the good things the Lord our God has given us!’”

And so it is that on this Lenten journey over hills and through the vales of life, on this Lenten journey through trials and tribulations, on this Lenten journey on the barren road to Easter, let us remember in advance, how God heard the complaints of our spiritual ancestors in like moments and delivered them into a land flowing with milk and honey in God’s perfect time. Let us remember and bow.

SCRIPTURE: Deuteronomy 26:1-11 (NRSV)
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 and go to the place that the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for his name. You shall go to the priest who is in office at that time, and say to him, ‘Today I declare to the Lord your God that I have come into the land that the Lord swore to our ancestors to give us.’ 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 labour 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 with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with a terrifying display of power, and with signs and wonders; and he brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. So now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground that you, O Lord, have given me.’ You shall set it down before the Lord your God and bow down before the Lord your God. Then you, together with the Levites and the aliens who reside among you, shall celebrate with all the bounty that the Lord your God has given to you and to your house.



Comments (8)

  1. “…bow down before the Lord…” is the phrase that begins the end of the liturgy in the Episcopal Church during Lent. Is there a particular “tradition” among Mennonites about changes to the “text” of worship during Lent?

    Norm Morford February 14, 2013 |
    • Norm, which change are you referring to? – Jodi Beyeler, devotions editor

      Devotions Editor February 14, 2013 |
    • Norm – As an Episcopalian, I too recalled the liturgical greeting during Lent of “Bow down before the Lord”….. When I first heard it I found it troublesome until I began making the motion with my body as I said the words….. and realizing my profound need to bow down before the Lord in humility …..

      Lynn W February 15, 2013 |
  2. Oh yes Jim. We are all on a journey and ask ‘are we there yet?’. Of course not! And you’re right. Getting there is half the fun! It is what we will remember. So enjoy!

    Debbie Lackowitz February 14, 2013 |
  3. Remember and bow..this such a beautiful reminder of how key reverence is in my prayer..body gestures keep me mindful of our gracious God’s Indwelling Presence.

    winnie valcancick February 14, 2013 |
  4. This is lovely, Jim, and a timely reminder that we rarely have the wisdom to look at our lives with a long view. We need to remember that when we are journeying through some wilderness!

    Rev. Timothy Haut February 14, 2013 |
  5. I wish you had – in this time of turmoil in the middle east – mentioned that the “Aliens” were the Canaanites who became the Palestinians we know today. The Palestinian Alien sub culture in Israel who sat on that hill side when Christ gave his “Sermon on the Mount”!


    Richard Humphries February 14, 2013 |
  6. “The barren road to Easter…” I like that image. I will be reflecting on that one.

    Elaine Kauffman February 15, 2013 |