Readings: Exodus 15:22 – 16:36, Psalm 105: 1-6, 37-45
If someone were to give you a gift of a chocolate bar, you would be able to eat it straight away and then it would be finished, or if you had incredible amounts of will power (for those with a sweet tooth), you could save some for another day and eat it then. Whenever it is eaten, it would no longer exist in its current form. If, however, they gave you the gift of their presence, then they would be giving you a gift that you cannot save for another day. That is something you have to enjoy in the moment and dwell in for as long as you can.
It turns out that the manna that God gave to the Israelites is more like the gift of presence than the gift of chocolate. It was a symbol of God’s presence that also sustained them physically. It was just like the pillar of cloud in the day and the pillar of fire at night. In the manna, we see the presence of God and it is not something we can save for later; it is something that we dwell in now for as long as we can.
The way in which the manna worked, is an incredible example of how grace works. God told each person to take enough every day and whether they gathered a lot or a little; it still turned out to be an omar (2½ litres). Regardless of what they gathered, it was always just right and exactly what they needed. You cannot have too much or too little of God’s grace; you will always have exactly what you need because God gives you exactly what you need. God is doing the work; He is giving and you are receiving. It is also exactly what you need in the moment. Tomorrow you will have exactly what you need for tomorrow. You can’t keep any grace until then because you cannot store God’s grace. Manna and grace are not a ‘something’, they are the gift of God’s presence in the moment and in God’s presence; there is nothing we do not have that we need.
God poured His gift of life out over the Israelites every day as He continued to invite them into communion with Himself. When God gives Moses His name and reminds him to tell His people who He is; He says that His Name is YHWH (I am who I am, I will be there, howsoever, I will be there, I am present, whatever is going on, I am present). God’s presence is the greatest gift we could ever receive and it is a gift that has no end, it is a gift that can never be used up, it is a gift we cannot save for later. God’s presence is an ongoing expression of God’s love and God is eternal. In His presence we are called simply to dwell, we are called to enjoy it in the moment, every moment. Why do we think we will wait for a better time to enjoy the gift of fellowship with God?