Read or hear the story from Joshua 4:19-24
The book of Joshua was a product of a Jewish renewal movement during the time Israel was in exile in Babylon (6th century BCE). It was part of the Deuteronomistic History that shaped Jewish identity and gave them hope in a hopeless situation and power in a powerless place. (read Joshua and the Land, pp 3-6)
Observe this law in the land you are about to cross into and occupy
So that you and your children may worship God . . .
Recite these words to your children (see Deuteronomy 6)
You shall let your children know the meaning of these stones
so that you may worship the Lord forever.
Remember what happened to the demoniac and the pigs at the Galilean Sea?
possessed by demons, confronted by Jesus, saved by God
(see the story in Mark 5)
What is it about God that these stories communicate?
The people of Israel remember God as one who has the power to save them
in their time of need. (read Joshua and the Land, pp. 11-12)
The story of Joshua crossing over the Jordan with the people of Israel was remembered throughout Israelís history. Thereís another favorite story which has similar features. It is about the prophets Elijah and Elisha (2 Kings:2). The similarities are:
|Conflict over land||. . . then||. . . now|
What is it?
Not a city . . .
A holy place with a circle of twelve stones.
An ancient prompt to ask the question,
What do you do to remember the times
God has been present for you and helped you?
What will remind you?
How do you expect the next generation to know?
12 stones in a circle
12 tribes in the land
12 disciples around the table
These are signs of remembrance.
Is there anything about this story that reminds you of Holy Communion?
The next time you:
hear the words, Do this in remembrance of me
taste the bread and wine
see the circle of worshipers
remember the people of Israel crossing the river,
your spiritual family and the power God uses for you.
For a scholarly discussion of the relationship between the Jordan River and the Red Sea, read God at War, pages 64-65 by Old Testament professor Tom Dozeman
For information on stone circles in England, Scotland, and Ireland which date from the same Bronze Age period as Joshua, see the Stone Pages. (note*)
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