The Story for the
Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost
Sept 27, 2020
prepared by the Rev’d Rhonda Waters
From the wilderness of Sin the whole congregation of the Israelites journeyed by stages, as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. The people quarrelled with Moses, and said, “Give us water to drink.” Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” But the people thirsted there for water; and the people complained against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?”
So Moses cried out to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” The Lord said to Moses, “Go on ahead of the people, and take some of the elders of Israel with you; take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will be standing there in front of you on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so that the people may drink.” Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. He called the place Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarrelled and tested the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”
Something to Do
Complaints Complaints Complaints
The Israelites spent a lot of energy complaining – but maybe they had a point. After all, water is not exactly a luxury. Many complaints, however, are not so justified. In fact, complaining can become something of a habit. Pick a day and notice your complaints, whether spoken out loud or just in your head. What do you complain about? Who do you complain to? How does complaining make you feel?
A Tall Glass of Water
Enjoy a big glass of refreshing water. Pay attention to how it feels. Imagine how much better it would feel if you were wandering in a desert. Remember that not everyone in the world – or even in our own province – has access to clean water. Give thanks that you do and connect to the Indigenous Water Project of the PWRDF to work towards safe and accessible water for everyone in Canada.
Something to Wonder
Is the Lord among us or not?
The Israelites followed Moses out of Egypt, trusting in God’s power and God’s promise. Then they found themselves in the wilderness, hungry, tired, thirsty, scared and started to wonder – “Is the Lord among us or not?”.
Have you every set out to follow God and then wondered if you took a wrong turn somewhere?
When have you found yourself in the wilderness, wondering if God was really present?
Wondering about water
The people of the Bible live in a dry place. How did this context shape the use of water as a symbol? In what ways might water have been used differently if they had lived on an ocean or in a rain forest? In what ways does the symbol of water transcend these differences?
What has been your experience of water? How does this shape the way you hear water imagery and symbolism?
Something to Learn
Domestically and internationally, access to and protection of clean water is a critical justice issue. Learn more about the issues and the work being done.
From the SIWI: The world is at a point where water crises and competition for water are no longer risks, but a reality for many. We believe that the best way to tackle water crises, and help bring about lasting change, is to strengthen water governance among public and private actors alike. Essentially, who gets what water, when and how, and who has the right to water and related services, and the associated benefits.
Amnesty International is seeking justice for Indigenous communities in Canada.
University of British Columbia’s Program on Water Governance provides a variety of factsheets and articles on Canada and water.
Closer still to home: learn about the work of the Ottawa Riverkeepers
Something to Pray
Holy God, we do not always understand your word or your ways.
Give us wisdom and imagination and courage as we learn and grow.
The story this week has made me wonder about…
(what questions are still on your heart?)
Receive my questions and help me hear your answers.
The story this week has filled me with…
(how are you feeling?)
Accept my praise, heal my hurt, ease my worry.
The story this week has reminded me of…
(are there situations or people you are thinking of?)
Be with all who are in need of you.
In Jesus’ name, we pray.