This text is used for the Lectionary Year A on September 24, 2017.
In the article, Exodus 16 as an Alternative Social Paradigm, Ann Fritschel introduces an analogy of the Israelites’ wilderness experience to a liminal experience. Taken from the Latin word for ‘threshold,’ liminal is defined as an ‘in-between place,’ a rite of passage as one moves from childhood to adulthood. With the aforementioned in mind, perhaps the actions of Israel are more plausible as we witness a continual disconnect between expectation and application of God’s commands. In Exodus 15, the Israelites take a praise break and worship the LORD that brought them up out of Egypt and through the Red Sea on dry land. It’s not long though, in fact just a month from their miraculous aquatic-based deliverance, before the Israelites piggy back on their earlier disposition of complaining while living in the wilderness. The initial murmuring motif raises its head again in Exodus 15:22-27 when the Israelites are grumbling for the need to quench their thirst. Even after God directs their feet to an abundance of springs and shade trees, the tension of living in-between reappears even in our pericope.
From an exegetical perspective, Exodus 16:2-15 is a rich reservoir for exploration, a gold mine for excavation. While there exists much scholarly debate about sources and literary form, one thing is for certain, our text parallels a traditional pattern of murmuring found in Numbers 14 and 16. Simply put, the people murmur, a conflict occurs, and a theophany combined with a divine word for Moses provides instructions for relaying to the people. Within the text, we find the manna and quail traditions (believed to exist independently) combined to relay an intended message to its hearers that differ from its counterparts in Numbers 11 and Psalm 78. Exodus 16 maintains the tension of the two aforementioned accounts. On the one hand, we witness the gracious provisions of God through the manna and quail. On the other hand, Israel’s disobedience is clearly visible even in the absence of judgment by God.
This text is used for the Lectionary Year C on March 6, 2016.
In the lectionary, Joshua 5:9-12 is linked with Psalm 32, 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 and Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32. If you are following the lectionary this would be the fourth Sunday in Lent. As such, it leans into transitions. The Joshua and 2 Corinthians texts also reflect the theme of transitions.
It is easy to focus on the dramatic battles of the Book of Joshua and miss the liturgical or ritual elements embedded in the book. The Book of Joshua is about transitions. The first chapter of the Book of Joshua announces Moses is dead (Jos 1:2). The story that began with the crossing of the Sea of Reeds (Exodus 14) closes or transitions at the crossing the Jordan (Joshua 3:1-17). The story that began with the gift of manna (Exodus 16:4-30) comes to an end in the book of Joshua (5:12).
This text is used for the Lectionary Year B on August 9, 2015.
(This is the first of three reflections on Jesus’ “I am the bread of life” statements in John 6, and all three really need to be read together.)
One of the first things to note about a text is the context in which it appears. This important text, recorded only in John, takes place on the day after the feeding of the 5,000 (the only miracle appearing in all four gospels; Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-15), and after Jesus has crossed the Sea of Galilee during the night by walking on the water (Matthew 14:22-36; Mark 6:45-54; John 6:16-24). John’s account of these events includes significant parallels with Moses (being in the wilderness; miraculous manna in the wilderness; climbing the mountain to be with God; miraculous crossing of the sea). These parallels are prelude to the fact that a new covenant, superior to the covenant that came through Moses, is about to take place.
This text is used for the Lectionary Year B on August 2, 2015.
In 6:24-35 an encounter occurs between Jesus and a Judean crowd, and it revolves around Jesus’ previous feeding of the 5,000 (6:1-15). One characteristic of this encounter is the use of questions. The Gospel of John is filled with probing questions directed towards Jesus. The Judean crowd and their questions are perfect examples of those seeking to know more about Jesus. Note the various questions put to Jesus by the crowd in these verses: (1) “Rabbi, when did you come here?” (v. 25); (2) “What must we do to perform works of God?” (v. 28); (3) “What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you?” (v. 30a); and (4) “What work are you performing?” (v. 30b).