The campfire burned low, lighting the faces of the teen campers a warm orange. It had been a hard day, paddling against the river’s current, and everyone was tired. But no tension emerged. No one acted selfishly. Patience and genuine care for one another abounded.
One boy ended our evening prayer with “Thank you, God, for showing yourself to us in the river when it got tough this afternoon, and your softer side in this awesome flat place to camp. Amen.”
Now, the Israelites were not on a summer camp pleasure cruise. Far from it. However, perhaps our experiences of God in the wilderness were not so different. The wilderness wanderings in Exodus were challenging; but God sustained the holy people as they wandered, showing them a softer side as well. Both law and gospel call us to lead lives showing the love of God to the world, through challenge and love.
God, thank you for both your love and grace, and also for your challenge to live a holy life. Strengthen me to respond to your challenge, always confident in your grace. Amen. — BM