In a service designed around a special offering, you might expect a strong focus on stewardship and generosity. In the suggested readings, however, there is a strong focus on the image of water. In many cases, we are talking about literal water; in other cases, water serves as the symbol of Baptism. From there, we can make the claim that our freedom from sin and death, which is given to us in Baptism, frees us to be generous with our time and our resources.
As always, the readings for this Sunday are below. My comments are the readings are in italics. My comments are meant to be the starting point of discussions and not the ending point of discussions. If you have an insight to share, a dispute with something I've said, a question to raise regarding one of the readings, or any other response to what is shared here, I invite you to post it in the comments below so that we can continue the conversation.
Exodus 17:1 - 7
1 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.
2 The people quarreled 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?"
3 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?"
4 So Moses cried out to the LORD, "What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me."
5 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.
6 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.
7 He called the place Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarreled and tested the LORD, saying, "Is the LORD among us or not?"
- The whole point of this story is that the Lord will provide, even when it seems impossible. Finding a source of water large enough for the Israelites within a random rock/cliff/boulder in the wilderness? Impossible! Until it happens.
- “Rock” does not tell us much about where Moses found the Lord’s source of water. The alternate translations of “cliff” and “boulder” tell us more and are a better description of a location that can hold large amounts of water.