Sunday, January 09, 2005

Sermon Idea Number - 13 -

Suggested Titles:

Consecration and Calling
The Living God in our Midst
God keeps on doing the same things


Joshua 3-4

Passage Overview – some highlights:

In this great story, the Israelites cross another body of water, the Jordan here, and the same God who led them to be a unique community in the story of the Exodus is the same God who wants to lead them now. God keeps doing the same kind of thing in leading and guiding these people, but they must also, keep walking, being obedient and making themselves available to God.

Another important highlight of this sermon, really could merit its own separate sermon, is the question and answer episode that takes place after the Ark and the people cross the Jordan. Note how stones, memorial stones, are set up not just arbitrarily, but uniquely, specifically, to mark what God has done in the past to remember for us, and for our children! The only way this community of faith, called to be a Priestly Kingdom and Holy Nation can become a kingdom/nation is if they teach their children about God –if they remember God in their midst not just daily (see Sermons on Deuteronomy 6 and Joshua 1) but specifically for their children (see Sermon on Deuteronomy 6).

Important Specific Concepts:

God will show them how to go in a “new land” where they have not been before.

The people must ready themselves – purify and consecrate themselves. The people must do something and here it might be uniquely important in our tradition to note that they can’t just “pack up their things” – it takes a “spiritual packing up” to get ready for God. When the people have consecrated themselves, then God can do “amazing things.”

God is the “living God” compared to other gods.

Note it is only when the priests feet touch the water that the flooding Jordan parts – what faith it must have taken. Note the specific connections to the Exodus story about it being “dry ground” they crossed upon. God’s miracle doesn’t leave people “in the mud and muck” but stable.

The text looks to the future, beginning at verse 19, and the future involves children who need to be told about who God is and what God has done. This story tells us how important and deliberate the Israelites needed to be in setting up tangible, physical reminders about God. And, like the Shema text, (see Sermon on Deuteronomy 6) it points to the importance of children as members of the community of allegiance to God!

Ideas for Illustrations:

Imagine the game of “chicken” that you might have played on your bike as a child. The priests had to walk until they “touched” the water before it parted – they were no chickens!

For what unique events do we consecrate ourselves – weddings perhaps, with all the make-up and dress, but how often do we go to this same attention to consecrate ourselves for God and God’s purposes.

Ideas for Wrapping Up - Response - Call:

A renewed call to step out in faith

A renewed call to keep faith for and be attentive to our children and their allegiance!

How we need to be more deliberate in stepping out into the future – but also looking back at God’s great work in the past. Perhaps we do both simultaneously.


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