”When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, “Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, and command them, saying, ‘Take for yourselves twelve stones from here, out of the midst of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet stood firm. You shall carry them over with you and leave them in the lodging place where you lodge tonight… In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jor- dan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jor- dan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.” (Joshua 4:1,2-6-7, NIV)

This summer will be a walk to remember! Only God could know of the challenges we were going to face in 2020. Only God. Our Rock and Redeemer has the answer through it! I have been empowered by reading the faithfulness of God through the book of Joshua. I have especially been drawn to the “rock to remember.” Joshua was the one chosen by Moses to bring over 2 million Israelites into the Promised Land. It took 24 hours for them to cross the fierce Jordan river at flood stage. The moment the priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant placed their feet in the Jordan River, the waters parted. The people of God were able to pass through on dry ground to the other side. To remember the mighty acts of God, Joshua instructed 12 men representing the 12 tribes to each take a rock out of the Jordan River and carry them to the place they were staying the night. Each of those twelve men faithfully carried the heavy rocks and constructed a memorial altar in their camp to mark that great passage of faith in God. What did those 12 rocks help them remember?

First, these stones told of God’s Great Power. The 12 stones near the Jordan River reminded them whose power had brought them to victory. Those stones cried out, “God did this! By His power, we have been brought through these waters!” Joshua told the people the memorial stones will let all the peoples of the earth know the hand of the Lord, and His great power to save us so that all may have a holy fear and reverence for the Lord God forever. Do you possess the rock of great power? Does the power of Jesus Christ live in you?

Second, these stones solidified God’s Great Promises. It had been a long road to the Jordan River. The people had been slaves in Egypt for some 400 years until God miraculously delivered them. Then they had spent 40 more years wandering in the wilderness due to their lack of faith. (We think five months is a long time to be shut down.) But now, at long last, they were crossing the Jordan River into the land God had promised Abraham hundreds of years earlier. Do you stand on the rock of God’s great promise? Do you trust that what God did then, He will do again?

Third, these stones pointed to God’s Great Purpose. The memorial stones served the purpose to remind them of God’s great- er purpose which is two-fold: to make them a people when they were once “no people;” and to make them a nation of priests to bring others into the family of God. We, too, are called by Jesus to be a royal priesthood and to “proclaim the virtues of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9, NIV). It is up to us to tell the story of God’s power, grace, and mercy, and to bring people who were once “no people” into the promised land of God (heaven!)

Next Sunday we will have our first Sunday of the month Drive Through Communion and Prayer Service from 9 am – 11 am. We will be raising our own rock altar to remember how God is bringing us through the dry ground to the promised land. You are asked to come and bring a rock (small or large) and place it on the prayer altar in front of the church. You can write a promise from the scriptures on the bottom of it if you like. Or simply place the name of your tribe (family) that is committed to serving the Lord. If you forget to bring a rock, one will be provided for you at the donation table. If you are not able to attend this Sunday, the rock altar will be with us through the month of August. It is located at the side entrance of the sanctuary.

Rocks are left here to tell the story. It is humbling to think that way after we are gone, these stones will remain. But what story will they tell? Do you think in the big scheme of time, they will tell our story? Will they cry out about God’s mighty acts at work in us in 2020? Only time will tell.

In Christ Alone, Pastor Mary

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