The church leads us out into the wilderness to be with the people of God – it seems many months or perhaps even years into their wilderness adventures – such is the bitterness and the discontent that they evoke with their complaints against the Lord. It is only when you realise that no, this all happens in Exodus 16; the events of the exodus itself, when the Lord rescued the people of God from their slavery in Egypt happen in Exodus 14-15. It is not years or even months that have passed – it is only a couple of weeks since the Lord acted in such an amazing and all-powerful way to demonstrate his sovereignty and authority.
Once again the Lord hears the cry of his people, and this time he responds in two ways: he sends quails to provide meat, and in the morning, when the dew that surrounds the camp lifts, the people of God discover this white powdery substance that tastes like coriander and is something like wafers flavoured with honey. Their response when they see it? “What is it?” – and it is from this phrase that we get the Hebrew word for this bread from heaven – Manna.
Recorded at St Paul’s, 8am (11’13”) – one of five Sunday Masses this weekend (including Mass for the Antioch weekend)
Exodus 16:2-4,12-15; John 6:24-35