Yesterday was a very cool day of worship at the church where I worship. The children helped plan and lead our entire church in worship yesterday. Middle-schoolers played with adult musicians on the worship band. Elementary girls got up on stage and sang worship songs into the microphone. The littlest kiddos handed out programs and helped take the offering, and other kids helped our fantastic Director of Children’s Ministry tell the story of Israel’s crossing of the Jordan River into the Promised Land. If you’re church is not open to having the children minister to adults in some significant way, I’m bummed for you. It was a beautiful picture of the kingdom of God!
As Tarah told the story of Israel’s crossing into the Promised Land it made me think about how faith in a living, dynamic, dangerous God actually grows. God actually told the children of Israel how to grow their faith. As they crossed the Jordan on dry ground God told Joshua, “Take for yourselves twelve men from the people, one man from each tribe, and command them, saying, ‘Take up for yourselves twelve stones from here out of the middle of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet are standing firm, and carry them over with you and lay them down in the lodging place where you will lodge tonight.” Joshua 4: 2-3 After Israel had safely crossed over into the land Joshua immediately taught the people about the significance of their new rock pile. He told them, “When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, ‘What are these stones?’ then you shall inform your children, saying, ‘Israel crossed this Jordan on dry ground.’ “For the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed, just as the LORD your God had done to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed; that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, so that you may fear the LORD your God forever.” Joshua 4: 21-24
The vitality of our faith is directly related to our memory. If we have a forgetful memory, our faith stagnates. If we have a vivid memory, our faith grows stronger and stronger. If you and I don’t have some way of making a rock-pile of faith (which is what that weird “Ebenezer” thing is that we sing about in the hymn “Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing”) our faith in God will shrivel. God may in fact do mighty, amazing, even astounding things in our life but we actually can end up with little to almost no faith if we don’t in some way memorialize these experiences in our minds and heart. This week we celebrate Thanksgiving. Make some kind of “rock pile” that memorializes God’s faithfulness to you – the vitality of your faith depends upon it!