It’s Sunday morning, the second Sunday after Pentecost, right in the middle of Memorial Day weekend. My responsibilities this morning are relatively light. However, I do have the task of delivering an award winning children’s sermon. I’m going to try and engage the kids over this idea of making memorials.
One of my favorite passages out of the Old Testament comes from the book of Joshua. The Israelites have just been instructed to cross the Jordan River while at flood stage. The passage to the other side of the river is seemingly unattainable, yet when the people come to the water’s edge the river stops flowing and all the people walk across on dry ground. After everyone had crossed the river, Joshua gives instruction to have twelve stones removed from the river and has them set up as a memorial so when the descendants ask about the stones their parents can recall the time when God held back the Jordan.
Memorials work in two ways: 1) Memorials help us to remember important people and events of the past, and 2) memorials give us guidance for the future. For the Israelites, the stones that came out of the Jordan were not just about reminding the people of a past event; the stones were about shaping the future identity of the people. If you’ve ever gone hiking you’ll know that many trials are marked by stones piled high. These piles of stones demonstrate that others have been here before, but they also mark the correct path to follow.
As I write this I’m thinking about my friends around the globe that are nearing times of transition; the year abroad is almost over and it’s time to come home or move on to something different. To these friends I pray that many stones would be piled high.
I hope the kids get it.