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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Monday, November 6, 2017

Today’s Scripture Reading | Joshua 3:7–17

The Lord said to Joshua, “This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, so that they may know that I will be with you as I was with Moses. You are the one who shall command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, ‘When you come to the edge of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan.’” Joshua then said to the Israelites, “Draw near and hear the words of the Lord your God.” Joshua said, “By this you shall know that among you is the living God who without fail will drive out from before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites: the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is going to pass before you into the Jordan. So now select twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. 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.”

When the people set out from their tents to cross over the Jordan, the priests bearing the ark of the covenant were in front of the people. Now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest. So when those who bore the ark had come to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the edge of the water, the waters flowing from above stood still, rising up in a single heap far off at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, while those flowing toward the sea of the Arabah, the Dead Sea, were wholly cut off. Then the people crossed over opposite Jericho. While all Israel were crossing over on dry ground, the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, until the entire nation finished crossing over the Jordan. (NRSV)

I once had to cross a river carrying a canoe. I was on the front end, and my friend was on the back end. Our basecamp was on the opposite side of the river we had ended up on. Our canoe had been damaged, so we had to carry it over instead of putting it into the water. Our canoe was the thing that was most precious to us because, once we fixed it, it would hold us and all of our things, to get us back home at the end of our trip.

Obviously, we were not carrying the ark of the covenant, but I would have given just about anything to have those waters part and cross over to the other side without trying to pass through the strong current. Just because the water did not recede for us to pass safely, it doesn’t mean God was not present. God was there, it just wasn’t as obvious to me as it would have been to the people crossing over in Joshua’s story.

I can only imagine the amount of times in my life that God has been present to help me safely across and I haven’t trusted or even thought about God. But God is still there. God shows up to see that we make it to the other side of life’s rivers. Maybe God shows up in the form of another person or people. Maybe God shows up when the rain ceases so you can drive a little easier or keeps us safe until the storms pass and we can cross in the sunshine.

Wherever God is in our daily crossings, God is there. We might not think about God or recognize God, but God is there.

God, help us to find you today, in the small places. Be there for us in our crossings to keep us safe as we make our way through the world. Amen.

Written by Shelley Donaldson, Senior High Youth Coordinator

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