Daily Devotion: The Free, Threefold Gift of God – Oil, Bread and Wine

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Bible Readings for Wednesday March 2nd, 2011 – The 8th Week of Epiphany

*Click on each bible passage to expand the text.

Psalm 104

Isaiah 66:7-13

Luke 12:22-31

  • … and wine to gladden the human heart, oil to make the face shine, and bread to strengthen the human heart. – Psalm 104:15
  • For thus says the LORD: I will extend prosperity to her like a river, and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing stream; and you shall nurse and be carried on her arm, and dandled on her knees. – Isaiah 66:12
  • He said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. – Luke 12:22

Oil, bread and wine; symbols of the abundance of God, his gifts of love to us, and all of humankind. These are our wages as the children of God.

These three are so rich and powerful in meaning of their symbolism they are almost overwhelming to consider:

  • Oil: “… to make the face shine
    Through the act of anointing the head of the high priest or king with oil, the Hebrews believed this allowed the spirit of God to come into a person. The robes of priests were consecrated with oil. Kings were crowned first with oil.In fact, it is in the root  Hebrew word for “anoint” (mashach) that we derive the term Messiah (mashiach), or The Annointed One, our savior and lord, Christ (Χριστός is Greek for “the anointed“). Symbolic of the Holy Spirit, through Grace we are anointed by it and consecrated for our service to God. And so our face shines before others as an example.
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  • Bread:…to strengthen the human heart
    Symbolic of the human body, the body of Christ, and the body of the church, this is the material gift of God to the world. This is the material manifestation which we can touch and see with our eyes. Embodied in God’s gift of manna to the wandering Hebrews, in his gift of his son Jesus to the world, and embodied in the daily life and work of the church on earth. Bread is also symbolic of gifts not yet realized, therefore we find the promise of  The Kingdom of God and the New Jerusalem bound within the symbolism of bread. And so we are strengthened daily.
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  • Wine:…to gladden the human heart
    The very symbol of Grace. Salvation poured out for all. For me, wine is one of the most emotional symbols of the three because its red color is immediately reminiscent of the price of Grace: death to self, in the death of Jesus. Blood was long the means of atonement, through ritual blood sacrifice at the Temple, the high priests would attempt to reconcile the sins of a nation to the will of God. But this fruitless endeavor lasted ritually until the 2nd temple was destroyed in 70 CE. Today, the world finds solace and good news in the final act of selflessness: God’s exemplary sacrifice for the sake of the world, for God so loved the world. And so we are gladdened.

These are the gifts, freely given to us by God, because we are God’s children, God’s beloved, too.

Through the free gift of oil, we too are anointed to work as Christ in the world, for the sake and manifestation of The Kingdom.

Through the free gift of bread, we are sustained in this effort, by community, family, and the universal church of Christ.

Through the free gift of wine, our transgressions are forgiven, and we are free to pursue justice, equity, compassion and relief for The Other, knowing we will sometimes miss the mark, and that’s okay!

These are the gifts of God’s Grace upon his children. Rejoice in them and reawaken to their meaning and power for you, and may they bring all of us peace.

Trig Bundgaard About Trig Bundgaard

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Romans 5
"18. Therefore just as one man's trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man's act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all.
19. For just as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous."

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