Tensions in the Wilderness

In times together and times apart, we celebrate God’s presence in all creation, in stories of our past and dreams for the future, our despair and praying.

Central to the texts that close out the final season of the church year is the promise that the liberating spirit of God, who breathes life into all creation, remains at work.
This week, in a story of how God’s infinite love responded to the grumbling of a people with rumbling stomachs, we consider how we might be agents of God’s care.

September 20 – Tensions in the Wilderness

Exodus 16:2–15 After the Hebrew people flee from Egypt, they are tested by unfamiliar territory, hunger, and lack of knowledge. Amid such tension, God provides for their needs.

Read Exodus 16:2–15 or Listen to the audio story “Tensions in the Desert”or gather around as someone tells the story.

Tensions in the Desert

After the Pharaoh let Moses and the Hebrew people leave Egypt, and after God had shown Moses and the people a surprising way to cross the water into freedom, there was still a long, long way to go. The only way to go was to walk.

Day after day after day, Moses led the people further and further away from Egypt and further and further into the desert. The sun was hot during the day. The wind was cold at night. The people ran out of food, and they started to grumble.

They said, “We’re so tired and so hungry. We want figs and meat and fish and cucumbers and melons and olives and leeks and garlic and loaves and loaves of bread…all the delicious food we had back in Egypt. We’re dying of hunger out here in the desert.”

Moses didn’t know what to do, so Moses asked God.

That evening, small birds called quail came so the people could catch them, enough for everyone to eat.

The people grumbled, “We are not used to this kind of meat!”

The next morning, fine, flaky wafers of bread called manna appeared on the ground, enough for everyone to eat.

The people didn’t know what it was. They grumbled, saying “What is this? This isn’t fish, or cucumbers, or figs. And it certainly isn’t melon! Who asked for

Moses said, “It’s the bread God has given you to eat.”

View the story of Austin’s closet. When Austin learns that some kids don’t have warm winter hats and gloves, he decides to help.

The hungry people in the wilderness received God’s generosity and nourishment in the form of manna and quail. God’s gifts don’t only come in physical form. We are each given a variety of talents to show God’s love in helping others. Austin proudly announced that he is making a difference.

 What are some ways we can make a difference?

Make prayer pretzels

A long time ago, people held their arms crossed over their chests when they prayed. Originally, pretzels were made to remind people to pray. These prayer pretzels might remind us how the hungry people were fed as they journeyed in the wilderness.


3/1/2 cups (875mL) flour
1 tablespoon (15mL) yeast (or one package) 1 tablespoon (15mL) sugar
11/3 cups (325mL) warm water, divided
1 teaspoon (5mL) salt
coarse salt
Cookie sheet or baking tray


Put 1⁄2 cup (125 mL) warm water in a warm medium-size mixing bowl and stir in the sugar. Sprinkle yeast on top and leave for 10 minutes. Add remaining water and salt and stir in.
Stir in 2 1⁄2 cups (625mL) of flour with a spoon then knead in the last cup with hands.
Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth.

Roll into a long “snake.” Bend two ends around and cross over. Pinch dough together where it touches.
Sprinkle with coarse salt.
Bake at 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) for about 15 minutes. This depends on the size.

Less time is needed if pretzels are small and thin, more if they are larger and thicker.
Print your prayer on a small square of paper and attach it to a pretzel. Share your pretzel and prayer.

During the week

Plan a hike together. Take some water and a snack of cereal flakes. Let yourself miss or delay a meal so that you feel hungry. Then, in the wilderness of grass and trees or cars and buildings, have a meal of “modern manna.”

Imagine an open window to your neighbourhood, region, world.
 Whatcriesdoyouhearwhenyoulistenthroughthisopenwindow?                    How might you be God’s love in this situation?

Use a dry-erase marker to write your responses on a window.

Listen to the song along to “All We Long For” (available as an MP3 for purchase and download) as you pray for people in your community, country, the world who seek freedom, shelter, food, water, peace.

Seasons of the SpiritTM SeasonsFusion • Pentecost 2 2020 Copyright © Wood Lake Publishing Inc. 2020