Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Holy Qurbana – Commemoration and Experience of the Salvific Event
The Lord said… “At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.” Exodus 16:11-12
How Quickly Do You Forget God’s Past Faithfulness?
Exodus 16 takes place about 2 months after the Israelites left Egypt, and they have now run out of the provisions they brought with them. Although it has only been a short time since the Israelites witnessed God’s amazing deliverance from Egypt, as well as God’s miraculous parting of the Red Sea, these astounding events seem to have faded from their memory. Even more remarkably, they seem to have forgotten how God had recently turned the bitter water of Marah into drinkable water for them. Because of their short-term memory of God’s past faithfulness, the Israelites don’t trust God to help them with their next challenge: providing food in the wilderness. In fact, their thinking is so clouded that they begin to reminisce fondly about their days of slavery and wish they were back in Egypt where they “sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread [they] wanted.” (16:3) Despite their ungrateful attitude, God promises to provide His children with bread from heaven, and He also plans to use His daily provision as a teaching tool for them: “At twilight you will eat meat and, in the morning, you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the LORD God.” (16:12) Unfortunately, it takes constant miracles and gifts from God for the Israelites to trust and follow Him, but how often is that true of us as well?
True to His word, God caused a wind to blow vast numbers of quail into the Israelite camp. Then in the morning God rained manna to the ground as bread for the Israelites. Just think about the sheer magnitude of these miracles. There were at least 600,000 Israelite men. Including women and children, that would be at least one million Israelites to feed…and no Walmart in sight. Numbers 11:32 tells us that no man gathered less than 10 homers of quail, which is equivalent to 60 bushels. (It’s basically an all-you-can-eat quail buffet.) So how many quail would God have provided for 600,000 men to be able to gather that much meat? That astronomical number staggers our imagination. In addition, God provided one omer (2 quarts) of manna each day, 6 days a week for 40 years for each Israelite individual. I won’t even bother trying to calculate that colossal amount of manna. These miracles show us that God is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20)
God wanted the Israelites to learn to depend on Him daily for their needs. That’s why He only provided enough manna for each day. God’s practice of daily providing the manna they needed for each day over a 40-year period was designed to teach His people that He could be trusted to provide for all their needs. As a mother, I provide food for my kids one meal at a time. They don’t receive breakfast, lunch, and dinner all together in the morning, nor do they receive the meals for tomorrow on the previous day. My kids know they can trust me, as their mother, to provide each meal as needed. Shouldn’t we have that same trust in our Heavenly Father’s provision and goodness? But as humans we tend to want to store possessions for ourselves, so we won’t have to worry about tomorrow. We don’t want to rely on God for each day’s needs. Unfortunately, if God gave us everything we needed for a year, we would probably forget about him, at least until we ran out of things. Consider the Prodigal Son from Luke 15: he didn’t return to his father until after he had run out of money and food.
How can we “commemorate” God’s “Salvific Events” in our lives so that they serve as a constant reminder of God’s faithfulness to us?
Even in these troubling times with mass layoffs, soaring inflation, family discord, and other issues, we can trust God to take us through each challenge, one day at a time. He won’t provide all the answers or solutions at the outset because He wants us to trust Him step by step. So how do we learn to trust Him? If you take a few minutes to think back on your past problems, you will realize that God took you faithfully through each one. But if you’re anything like me (or the Israelites), the next time a problem arises, you will again doubt God and worry about how you will get through it. Maybe we should commemorate the instances of God’s past faithfulness to us like the Israelites did. In Exodus 16, God tells Moses to preserve an omer of manna for future generations to see: “This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Two quarts…are to be preserved throughout your generations, so that they may see the bread I fed you in the wilderness…’” (Exodus 16:32-34) The preserved manna served as a reminder to the Israelites of God’s past faithfulness. So how can we “commemorate” God’s “Salvific Events” in our lives so that they serve as a reminder of God’s faithfulness to us?
One way is to keep a journal to document the times that God has helped us with problems in the past; this can help us remember to trust Him in the future when new problems arise.
We can also share with each other instances of God’s faithfulness in our lives. Our shared testimonies can encourage us to continue to trust God even when the situation looks hopeless. We do this during the watchnight service. Why not every day?
We can preserve mementos that remind us of ways that God has helped us in the past. For ex., when you get a new job after a prolonged layoff, you can preserve the first paycheck from the new job as a reminder of God’s faithfulness.
Holy Qurbana is the Commemoration of God’s Greatest Salvific Event
Many national holidays like Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, and Veteran’s Day have been established to commemorate and honor people who have made great sacrifices for others. Holy Qurbana commemorates the greatest sacrifice ever made. God made provision for our greatest need when He sent Jesus from heaven to die on the cross for our sins. Jesus said: “For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world…I am the bread of life…Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven…Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life…This is the bread that came down from heaven.” (John 6:27-58) Because our salvation is the greatest gift that God has given us, we celebrate Holy Qurbana as a commemoration and reminder of this salvific event. This gift outranks any other gift God has given us because it affects both our life on earth, as well as our eternal life. Unlike manna and our daily meals, this is a gift that we can store up in heaven. And like manna, it is a completely free gift from God that we didn’t earn or deserve. God gave the Israelites manna in the midst of their sinful complaints and ungratefulness, and He sent Jesus to die for us while we were still unrepentant sinners. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesian 2:8-9) Each time we participate in the Holy Qurbana, we are reminding ourselves of God’s greatest gift to us: salvation through Jesus Christ. Going through the process of partaking of Jesus’ body and blood regularly will help us to remember the priceless sacrifice Jesus willingly made for us. During annual events like Memorial Day and the 9/11 anniversary, people aptly proclaim, “We will never forget!” They vow never to forget the sacrifices made by others that gave them freedom and allowed them to live in peace. In a similar way, Holy Qurbana is one way that Christians can proclaim, “Jesus, we will never forget! We will never forget the tremendous sacrifice that You made for us, to give us freedom from sin and death and to allow us to live in peace with God!”
Jesus, we are so prone to forget your constant faithfulness and goodness. Help us to remember Your countless answers to our prayers and the way You have provided for all our needs. And help us to be thankful every day for the salvation You provided through Your death and sacrifice. We ask You to forgive us for our forgetful and ungrateful hearts. Thank You. Amen.
Thought for the Day
Therefore, do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’… For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6:31-34
Susy Ninan, Sehion Mar Thoma Church, Dallas, Texas