Thursday 30 August 2018

Bible Book:

“When the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan flowing from above shall be cut off; they shall stand in a single heap.” (v. 13)

Joshua 3:1-17 Thursday 30 August 2018

Psalm: Psalm 127



This story of a miraculous crossing of the river Jordan bookends the journey of Israel – from the moment of their escape out of slavery in Egypt up to this point of transition at which they finally reach and prepare to settle the land of Canaan that has been promised to them by God. It is a bookend because Israel’s journey begins with their escape from slavery in Egypt by likewise crossing a body of water while God held back the waves (Exodus 14).

The Ark of the Covenant, which at the crossing of the Jordan is borne out into mid-stream and held there until all the people have safely passed over, was the physical sign of God’s presence with the people. It is described in the book of Exodus as containing two stone tablets on which were inscribed God’s commandments to Israel, delivered at Mount Sinai after they fled from Egypt (Exodus 31:18). The Ark was carried ahead of the people during their desert wanderings by members of the tribe of Levi in Israel as part of their priestly duties.

The task of priestly service at this point, then, is to go with the Ark, the sign and token of God’s presence with Israel; to stand in a potentially dangerous and overwhelming river, to trust God to hold back the flood and to enable the people to pass across in safety. The Levitical priests put themselves ‘on the line’ in order to make something possible, which looks at first sight to be impossible, for the whole people.

Methodists have understood priesthood to be something that is part of the identity and calling of the church as a whole, referred to as the “priesthood of all believers”. Might part of what it means to make God present to people involve the Church as a body ‘putting itself on the line’ for the communities it serves, risking what seems dangerous and potentially overwhelming in seeking others’ welfare as its own highest good?


To Ponder

  • In what ways might the Church be called to put itself ‘on the line’ for the welfare of others?
  • Are there instances that you’re aware of where this is already what the Church is doing, locally, nationally or internationally?
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