Lent 4: Something Old, Something New: The Land

Lent 4 texts at www.textweek.com

Joshua 5:9-12          Psalm 32          2 Cor. 5:16-21          Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32

“On the day after the Passover, that very day, they ate the produce of the land…” (Joshua 5:11)

Forty years after Egypt. Forty years of walking, of raising up and folding down the tents, of old folks dying and new babies born and those babies growing up and joining in marriage and bringing along babies of their own. Forty years of manna, punctuated by forty Passovers.

Forty years of telling the story, over and over again, of how God brought us out of slavery, out from under the Pharoah’s thumb, and into the freedom of the wilderness.

Forty years of moving forward, of wandering. Forty years of clinging to the promise of home.

And now finally, forty years after slavery, we are stepping into our own land. Once more, the people of God eat the traveler’s flat bread, roast the shared lamb, tell our children’s children the story. It’s our grandparents’ story, our parents’ story. It’s our own story: God brought us out of Egypt! God brought you out of Egypt! Even you who were not yet born have been delivered!

That old, old story–forty years old!–older than most of us. Our children can’t remember the day, the delivery, but they remember the story; they’ve heard it their whole lives. It has structured their days, and the years, and this journey. And now–now, that “happily ever after” we’ve been waiting for, dreaming of, is here under our feet. The dust of that dream is swirling around our ankles. We’re leaving our footprints in its sand. Our kids are making mud pies in its puddles.

Look how the road dust lingering on our robes mingles with the soil of Promise when we kneel to pray!

Look how the fields of grain stretch toward the horizon (and look–no more manna!)!

Look at our toes gripping the earth, holding us to this new foundation, standing still at last. Sink in, feel the soil meeting your soles. Clasp hands to heart, fill your lungs. Raise hands to the skies, exhale a blessing. This is the dream. This is your freedom. This is new life.

Welcome home.

First published 2/29/16 on www.bwim.info/blog

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