“Moses said to Aaron, ‘Take a jar and put an omer of manna in it. Then place it before the Lord to be kept for the generations to come”.
Ex 16:33 NIV
We all like to keep souvenirs and keepsakes. A photograph reminds us of when the children were little. An ornament reminds us of the holiday we spent in France. A Bible stirs a wave of emotion in memory of a beloved mother.
The exodus and wilderness wanderings were a crucial and foundational episode in the story of the Israelites. It was when God made them into a nation and did one mighty work after another. Always thereafter God was referred to as “the God who brought you up out of slavery in Egypt”. The exodus defined God as the saving God. So Moses looked ahead and sought for some memorial that would for ever remind them and their children of this historic stage in their formation. Aaron was charged to keep a little bit of manna for all time. But the life of manna was very short-lived. It rotted in a day or two. And there is no further mention of the jar or the manna, nor what happened to them Instead. the tablets with the Ten Commandments written on them became the memorial of this time. And the written record in the Bible is treasured to this day.
Jesus gave Christians a perpetual memory of his life and ministry by bequeathing to us the sacrament of Holy Communion. He also made it much more than a memorial. His presence is with us in the bread and wine and in the words of institution. And he lives for ever as we continue to celebrate and to enjoy his salvation.
Lord, help us to know you always alive and present.