Twenty Third Sunday after Pentecost
Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25
We find Joshua at the end of his life’s work of leading God’s people into the Promised Land, urging them to throw away their false gods (Canaan was full of them) and to choose to serve the Lord. Joshua leads by example, ‘as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord’ (24:15). He’s not going to be swayed by what others are going to do or say or think. He knows what he has to do – serve the Lord, no one else or no other cause.
Although the people say they will too do the right thing and put their hopes in the God who has brought them thus far, Joshua has his doubts,
‘You are not able to serve the Lord. He is a holy God; he is a jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins. If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, he will turn and bring disaster on you and make an end of you, after he has been good to you.’ (24:19-20).
Nevertheless, the people seemed determined to follow Joshua’s lead. Its not until the next generation emerges, that the trouble deepens. The next generation grow up not knowing the Lord nor what he’d done
Part of serving the Lord is passing on the truth and the good news to the next generation.
This is perhaps why remembering matters and why telling stories of the past to the next generation can help avoid the mistakes of the past.
In a culture which had learned to limit revenge to an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, Jesus offered a new way of radical forgiveness, non violence and love for enemies and to pray for those who persecute
Matthew 5:38, 44
Jesus invites his followers to, ‘be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect’ (5:48). Its a call to follow and a call to serve. Its to aim life high, as high as is possible. Its to embrace the same life Christ himself lived. Not just to emulate Jesus as the great teacher that he was but to receive the life direction he sends us, to welcome his Holy Spirit daily, to seek his kingdom in every way possible, for our enemies, our neighbours, our families, our friends, and ourselves.
Are we ready to serve?
Are we ready to serve the purposes of God? Are we ready to seek peace and justice in the way we conduct ourselves in business and in family life. Are we ready to pray for enemies? That when we’re having difficulty in a relationship, will we be quick to own our part in the difficulty if we need to? And will we seek the good of our adversary wherever that’s possible?
Are we ready to support those who need help to do that?
Are we ready to live life the Jesus way?