Read Deuteronomy 26:1-11

When you have come into the land that the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess, and you possess it, and settle in it,  you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you harvest from the land that the LORD your God is giving you, and you shall put it in a basket and go to the place that the LORD your God will choose as a dwelling for his name.
You shall go to the priest who is in office at that time, and say to him, “Today I declare to the LORD your God that I have come into the land that the LORD swore to our ancestors to give us.”   When the priest takes the basket from your hand and sets it down before the altar of the LORD your God, you shall make this response before the LORD your God:
 “A wandering Aramean was my ancestor;
he went down into Egypt and lived there as an alien, few in number,
and there he became a great nation, mighty and populous.
 When the Egyptians treated us harshly and afflicted us, by imposing hard labor on us,
 we cried to the LORD, the God of our ancestors;
the LORD heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression.
 The LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm,
with a terrifying display of power, and with signs and wonders;
 and he brought us into this place and gave us this land,
a land flowing with milk and honey.
 So now I bring the first of the fruit
 of the ground that you, O LORD, have given me.”
You shall set it down before the LORD your God and bow down before the LORD your God.  Then you, together with the Levites and the aliens who reside among you, shall celebrate with all the bounty that the LORD your God has given to you and to your house.


from Rev. Dawna Watkins, Bluefield, WV:

            “A wandering Aramean was my ancestor…”   When was the last time you stood before God and offered your testimony as a thanksgiving for all that God has done in your life?  Have you ever been brave enough to do so in the presence of your church family, with your pastor, with your friends and relatives?  That is what the Deuteronomy text is asking the Israelites to do as they are worshiping God, following their liberation and deliverance.  When Christ offers himself as our “first fruits offering” on the Cross; surely, we can be brave enough to tell others our stories of liberation from sin and separation. Surely we can give glory to God for how far God has brought us and how far God can take us.

Freeing and empowering God,
loosen my tongue to sing your praise and to tell your story.