And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The Lord your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God. ” (Joshua 4:20-24)
When Israel crossed the Jordan, it was a new day. It was a radical shift. The manna would stop because Israel needed to work the land given to them. To memorialize that day, 12 stones were taken from the bottom of the Jordan River when the people crossed over and set up on the other shore. It was to serve as a place to tell a story. It was to remind the people for generations about the faithfulness of God.
What is the place of remembrance in your life? What are places or markers you have to recall the faithfulness of God?
I’ve since added another icon but this picture represents what I face at my desk at home every day.
The picture of me and my wife is always a reminder to me. The orthodox blessing cross is a remembrance from Ethiopia. The icon of St. Benedict is from a monastery in Duluth, MN. It reminds me of times of silence I have had and the place I encountered the presence of God. The icon of the Trinity represented in the three visitors to Abraham is fairly new, reminding me of the faithful presence of God through all my life in ways I may not have seen. I have since added an icon of St. Bartholomew because of a deep spiritual work during a time of fasting and prayer the Lord did in me several years ago.
We carry memorials in our lives to remind us of his presence. There are significant times and places that have deep meaning. It may even be sorrow. The Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, AL has dirt in jars from places in the U.S. where lynchings took place. It is to remember the lives lost in the struggle for equality. It is sacred.
What are the memorial stones you carry in your life? Where do you find those sacred reminders? We are not meant to simply look forward. We are to remember the places in our past that are deeply significant. Those moments carried us forward. We need those stones of remembrance.