Thursday, August 16, 2007

Crossing the river

The readings for today had a rather intriguing connection to them. You may, in fact, want to read them from this site before you read any more. Then click back and read this to see if you get it.

You can click this link it may help you find it....

In case you missed it, both mentioned crossing the river Jordan. I couldn't help but think that both were about forgiveness and that the river is a good metaphor for forgiveness. In the first reading, the patriarch Joshua was taking the proto-Israelites across the Jordan river into their spacious land of Israel. Joshua was the successor of Moses and, in many ways, is portrayed as somehow less important than Moses in a rather subtle manner. The story of the Exodus begins and ends with a passage through water. Moses parted the Red Sea and there was "a wall of water on the right and a wall of water on the left." When Joshua parts the water, there is only one wall of water, the water flowing towards them walls up. The water that has already flowed by continues to flow until there is none left. As I said, it's subtle but it undercuts the miraculous event that is happening. The miracle God worked through Joshua is just not as cool as the one worked through Moses.

But Moses is the greatest of all the Patriarchs so it's no surprise that Joshua is considered not as important. But, that's okay. It doesn't mean that Joshua is a bad leader. We have a tendency to do that, to say that one who may have done a lot is good and one who doesn't do as much is bad. I've even heard people say that the middle ages goes from good pope to bad pope to good pope to bad pope... I resist that label because even the so-called bad popes did good things and the good popes have had their faults.

This is the danger in making judgments of those kind. It's easy to pass judgment on others and not realize that we could just as easily be called bad if people look closely at what we've done. That's the incredible thing about the Kingdom of God. Jesus says the Kingdom is about forgiveness and the humility associated with that. The true mark of one who is bound for the kingdom is the ability to forgive.

The challenge is are we willing to cross the rivers in our lives in order to forgive those who have wronged us?

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