Morning Prayer: Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Sept. 14th)

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Psalm: 66
Old Testament: Numbers 21:4-9
New Testament: John 3:11-17

So Moses made a serpent of bronze, and put it upon a pole; and whenever a serpent bit someone, that person would look at the serpent of bronze and live. (Numbers 21:9)

Does this symbol look familiar???? Yep. you guessed it…it’s the medical symbol…..the one you see on ambulances, prescription pads, medi-braclets and even on some EMS uniforms.

The serpent and pole is only one of a whole slew of religious symbols that our secular society has gradually (and conveniently) forgotten the origin of.

The story from Numbers also happens to be one of my favourite in the OT…..God is sick and tired of hearing the Israelites bitch and complain……so he decides to do what gods do best….smiting! 😛

But the story doesn’t end there. Unlike other stories in ancient culture–where a sacrifice is required to appease the deity–YHWH decides to listen to the prophet of his people, and to have compassion. He doesn’t even require a sin-offering of a young bull…..he just instructs Moses to make a simple statue which everyone may look at to be saved from death.

Aside from the obvious allusion to Jesus hanging on a pole/tree (which I will cover in this evening’s post)….I think we can take this story from the Hebrew Bible on its own merit.

The lesson for today’s reading has to do with keeping our focus. So long as we keep our eye on God and what he is doing in the world….as long as we don’t let our gaze become distracted by the crazy pace of this world, and the temptation to satisfy our selfish desires…..As long as the Holy Trinity is the centre of our lives….we will have eternal life.

Notice that the reading doesn’t say that the snakes stopped biting, or that there was no pain……only that those who were afflicted by the snake-bites had to look at the bronze pole and trust in the LORD’s saving power…which admittedly is a trust that I have been lacking in the past week. 😛

May we all on this Feast of the Holy Cross…..turn our eyes to the LORD to see his glory and to feel his love. +

Evening Prayer: June 14th (Combo Post)

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Psalm: 78
Old Testament: 1 Sam 1:21-2:10
New Testament: Acts 1:14-26
Gospel: An excerpt from a Treatise on the Lord’s Prayer by St. Cyprian

Even though he struck the rock so that water gushed out
and torrents overflowed,
can he also give bread,
or provide meat for his people?’ (Ps. 78:20)

Whenever I read this Psalm…I always call to mind the story of the snakes in the desert. “What kind of God would give us this detestable food to eat???”

I wonder if the allusion in my own brain was the same one the author of Ps. 78 intended.

With that in mind, I am left to wonder….how often do we look at blessings as a source of curse and distress???? Where are those points in our lives where we are overlooking God’s grace in our life???? I leave that question with you tonight, as I think it’s one we all need to ponder from time to time. +

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