Friday, April 5, 2013

Crossing the Jordan

Today's Reading
Joshua 1:1-18

It might be helpful at this point in our journey to be reminded that the goal of this reading series is to explore the ways in which scripture calls us to be a "missional people," a people engaged in the ongoing mission of God in the world. Therefore, our readings and reflections are focused on the themes of mission and service.
Today, we come to the book of Joshua. Moses has led the people of Israel through the wilderness for forty years and now his successor, Joshua, prepares to lead God's people across the Jordan river into the promised land. In many ways, the same themes that we found in the story of Moses are also found in Joshua's story. Just as God's presence was the continual source of strength and inspiration for Moses, so also Joshua is given the promise of God's presence - "I will be with you always; I will never leave you or forsake you."
However, Joshua is famously given another word of exhortation from the Lord - "Be strong and courageous!" These words are spoken to Joshua no less than four times in just the first 18 verses of the Book of Joshua. But being "strong and courageous" is often much easier said than done! As we step out in faith to respond to God's call on our lives, there is often much uncertainty and, at times, even confusion about what the future might hold for us. Of all the things that cause us to fear, that which we often fear the most is the unknown.  Joshua was entering into a unknown land, a land full of promise, but also full of potential enemies.

Fear and anxiety become paralyzing forces in the spiritual life, forces which often prevent us from fully participating in God's mission. The Lord promised Joshua not only the gift of divine presence, but also the gifts of divine strength and courage. Just as the people of Israel crossed over the Jordan river into a new and unknown land, God is calling us into a time of great change and transition as the Body of Christ today. This will require us to walk with great strength and courage as we seek to be faithful witnesses of God's love and power.

Today I offer the following quote from St. Francis de Sales for our reflection:
"Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow; the same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and everyday. Either He will shield you from suffering, or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, then, put aside all thoughts and imaginations, and say continually, "The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart has trusted in Him and I am helped. He is not only with  me...but in me...and I in Him."
St. Francis de Sales
16th Century French Bishop and Spiritual Director 


  1. what a gift: always available strength and courage

  2. When I was in Daisies, there was a candle ceremony, where every girl recited a line from the girl scout law as she lit a candle. My line was "courageous and strong." I remember that day very clearly and recall this message everyday! I truly believe courage and strength are divine gifts! ~Sami

  3. Sami - That is a great message to be reminded of each day. I am so glad that you are participating in this reading series. Have a blessed day!