Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel together at Shechem; then he called the elders, leaders, judges and scribes of Israel, and they presented themselves before God. Then Joshua said to all the people, ‘If you will not serve the Lord, choose today whom you wish to serve, whether the gods that your ancestors served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are now living. As for me and my House, we will serve the Lord.’
The people answered, ‘We have no intention of deserting the Lord and serving other gods! Was it not the Lord our God who brought us and our ancestors out of the land of Egypt, the house of slavery, who worked those great wonders before our eyes and preserved us all along the way we travelled and among all the peoples through whom we journeyed? What is more, the Lord drove all those peoples out before us, as well as the Amorites who used to live in this country. We too will serve the Lord, for he is our God.’
There is pride, joy, thanksgiving in the voice of the people, as they respond to Joshua’s challenge.
The tragedy is that the voice gestures towards a wholeness of relationship that Israel cannot live up to.
The wonder is that – despite the failure of the people to continue to honour their relationship with God in all circumstances. – God remains faithful to them in all circumstances.
That same love, that same faithfulness is available to us, always, everywhere. And faced by such wonders we too face the same choice – to follow the Lord, or not. To enter into newness, trusting in theresence and support of the One God, or not. It sounds like a no-brainer. The scriptures remind that it is not. If we are to follow, we have to choose.
- When has the absolute gratuity of God’s love made a difference to your life?
- How might it make a difference now?
Photograph of Bell of rejoicing in Assisi. (c) 2014, Allen Morris.