As a child, whenever I found myself complaining, hurt, or wishing ill-will on someone who had wronged me, my grandmother would say to me: “Always remember who you are and whose you are.” If I was in the wrong, her words reminded me to treat others better. If I was on the receiving end of someone else’s meanness, her words reassured me that I couldn’t be reduced to petty spats and arguments. Nearly forty years later, her words are a balm of strength and comfort in the face of darkness and doubt. To remember who we are as baptized children of God is to remember that in life and in death, we remain captive to God’s tender yet fierce love and devotion. No matter what we do or don’t do, God will not abandon us. Above all, to remember who we are is to know that we are not called to settle for simply getting by in life; God yearns for us to thrive as whole beings.
It can be hard to remember this all-encompassing love. Amid the barren wilderness and the weariness of the long journey to the Promised Land, all the Israelites want is immediate relief, even if that means a return to slavery. However, as God’s chosen people, they were not created for enslavement—no one is. They, and we, are called to know and experience the richness of God’s abundance and creation.
When circumstances leave us overwhelmed and feeling forsaken, it’s easy to retreat and yearn for what was familiar and guaranteed. But we aren’t called to settle for the status quo. We are called to the greatness of children who know who and whose we are.
God, when circumstances lead me to forget, help me to remember what matters most. Amen.
For the second time this year, we read the story of the Israelites complaining in the desert about water, only to see God provide a miraculous spring. The psalmist reminds the people of the many powerful deeds performed by the Lord, including leading them through the sea out of Egypt and providing them water from the rock. Paul emphasizes to the Philippians the need for humility and unity. In quoting the earliest known Christian hymn, Paul encourages them with the example of Christ, who gives up all his rights for the sake of others. In back-to-back encounters with religious leaders, Jesus evades an attempt to trap him in his words and then teaches that true obedience is shown not by our speech but by our actions.
Read Exodus 17:1-7. When have you tried to “do it all”? How can admitting your limitations help you lead?
Read Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16. Recall times when you have known God’s presence. How might remembering and retelling these stories shape your faith?
Read Philippians 2:1-13. How does your life speak of God’s love for you and for all humanity?
Read Matthew 21:23-32. How have you created your idea of Jesus in your own image? What would change if you found your identity in Jesus rather than creating Jesus’ identity from your own?
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