A Choice Made

Joshua 24:1-2, 15-18

The Biblical text from the NRSV is always found in the first column.

The reflection by Fr. Dennis Chriszt, CPPS is always found in the second column.

Then Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and summoned the elders, the heads, the judges, and the officers of Israel; and they presented themselves before God. And Joshua said to all the people, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Long ago your ancestors—Terah and his sons Abraham and Nahor—lived beyond the Euphrates and served other gods. Now if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods; for it is the Lord our God who brought us and our ancestors up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight. He protected us along all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed; and the Lord drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore, we also will serve the Lord, for he is our God.”

Like Moses before him, Joshua’s final address to the people of Israel is to remind them of the covenant God had made with them and of the responsibilities they had as the people of God. Like Moses, he warns them about not following the covenant will mean for them. Once again, they are asked to confirm their commitment to the covenant, to the God of their ancestors in faith.

Every Sunday, as we gather for the eucharist, we are invited to renew the covenant we made in baptism. Rather than answering the questions placed before us long ago, we are invited to profess our faith by reciting the Creed. There is no warning about what happens to those who choose not to follow the Lord, not even a promise of the blessings that come with the covenant, but we who renew the covenant are invited to gather at the table of the Lord and to eat and drink the bread and wine that unite us to the living God through Jesus the Christ.

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