On Fridays in April, we look at the scripture that our campers will be studying during Day 4 this summer of “Awesome God. Awesome Love.”
Prayer: Great God, you have in mind for us a good future full of hope and healing. Help us to follow your way and lift us up back onto your path when we grow weak, falter, or try to go our own way. In your name we pray. Amen
Reading: Numbers 21: 4-9 (Click to read text)
Stop and GROW: After reading the text, discuss/ponder the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Book of Faith questions, which are part of Camp Mount Luther's GROW Time with campers.
QUESTION 1: What scares, confuses, challenges, or doesn’t make sense to me in this text?
QUESTION 2: What delights me in this text or is my favorite part of the story?
QUESTION 3: What stories or memories does this text stir in me?
QUESTION 4: What is God up to in this text?
Reflection: There are a few things in nature that get our attention, but mostly it is the ones that could possibly harm us—that we are afraid of. Snakes, bears, and possibly spiders. Mosquitoes don’t catch our attention until it is often too late, but then we can just swat and spray repellant. The spiders will be shooed away or moved out of the shed. The bears lumber through our area on rare occasions and usually act like they would prefer to snack on blueberries than scare us any further. Snakes, on the other hand are just plain evil. Aren’t they symbols of sin, darkness, and the work of the devil? They bite people and cause sickness and sometimes death. How horrible. They should be wiped from the planet. Away with the snakes!
Yet, they are lifted up—literally and figuratively as a symbol of God’s capacity to heal through the most unpredictable means. They become a marker of life found by turning to God. Those miserable snakes become a background image for the theology of the cross. That is, we begin to understand that suffering and death is not the final word. God always has the final word. The fangs give way to a beautiful vision of life and love. In hope we can see that not even life or love take the spot of the final word, but it is an unending welcome of glory and praise in God’s presence.
God has the best intentions for our life and for all of creation. We simply must remember that and care for all that God intends and has created to be good.
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