Written by Talitha Arnold
"Mortals ate of the bread of angels; God sent them food in abundance." - Psalm 78:25
The Psalmist remembers the wilderness years of his people, when they wandered in the desert of Sinai. Hunger and the threat of starvation were their constant companions in that harsh and barren land. Yet the Psalmist reminds them that God was with them, even in the wilderness. God "rained down manna," so they might eat "the bread of angels."
In the congregation I serve, perhaps as in yours, there are people who also offer the "bread of angels" in wilderness times. We call them the Parish Life helpers and the Congregational Care Team. You may use a different name. They are the people in every congregation who cook. When someone is sick or a loved one has died, they show up with a casserole or a container of soup. They organize the receptions after memorial services. They bake the cookies, put on the coffee, pull out the good table cloths, and do everything else needed to offer comfort and hospitality to the family and loved ones in grief. Their casseroles and cookies—aka "the bread of angels"---remind us all that God is with us, even in the desert times.
"Sinai" isn't the only name for wilderness, those parched and fearsome places of our lives. And bread-baking angels come with all kinds of names, too. What do you call them in your congregation?
Thank you, God, for your "bread of angels" and those who provide it, in all its forms. Amen.