Joshua 4: 1-7
“1 When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, 2 “Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, 3 and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, from right where the priests are standing, and carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight.” 4 So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, 5 and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, 6 to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 7 tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”
Geologists can look at stones and tell you the ancient geological history of a nation. As a child I studied the geologic division of North Carolina into three areas, the mountains, the piedmont, and the coastal plain. Each division has a different type of soil, and as a result, different types of stones.
Stones were used in biblical times to mark a place where an important event had happened so that they would always have a reminder and a reference point for the event. The stones were proof that an event had taken place on that spot. Parents could point to a pile of stones and explain to their children the things that happened there in the past.
Is our faith a pile of stones of what used to be? Do we point to and long for the past? Or is our faith active and happening now, so that when we explain our faith to our children we can point to people who are alive in the faith, and living the example of Christ?
Do we point to stones? Or do we point to the fire of the Holy Spirit?
May the love of Christ be with you,
Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)