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Choosing Gratitude

March 10, 2024 - Rev. Dr. Jan Remer-Osborn

Numbers 21:4-9, Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22,  John 3:14-21

The Book of Numbers is likely not in your top ten reading list of books in the Bible. Today’s particular scripture and the reference verse quoted in John regarding the serpent has not been one of my favorites.  God asking for a bronze pole with a serpent on it just did not seem to jive with the God that I thought I knew.  I prefer to focus on John 3:16.

Yet this book, which is also known in the Hebrew Bible as “in the wilderness,” tells an important story.  It is about the people of Israel, journeying through the wilderness.  We get to hear about how they made choices about how they should live, which god they will serve, and how they will survive a life full of uncertainty.

I’m thinking we are a lot like the people of Israel portrayed in Numbers than we would care to admit.  What is our response to the gift from God to meet our needs in times of uncertainty?  Is it that we are too busy complaining about the existing conditions to recognize that we are fed, led, and secure?

The image of Jesus on the cross is what John is calling us to see in our gospel today. The term, “lifted up,” refers to Jesus’ cross, but it also refers to his resurrection, ascension, and glorification.

But where is our gratitude to God about this gift of Jesus, God’s kingdom here on earth and the promise of eternal life.  Do we forget it and gripe about our small troubles.  Do we throw it out the window?

Let us pray. Allow us, dear God to be the recipients of your perfect love and power given through the actions of your son, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Thank you, thank you, thank you, God.  We pray that we do not forget your gifts.  Holy Spirit please help us because we are weak. We pray that we uphold the covenant we have made with you through our baptism and our following of your son, Jesus.  Thank you, thank you, thank you, God.  Amen.

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