March 8

Good morning!  Is that another day of sun out there??? And Happy International Women’s Day!

Today’s scripture:  Joshua 4:14-24


 On that day the Lord exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they stood in awe of him, as they had stood in awe of Moses, all the days of his life.  The Lord said to Joshua, ‘Command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant to come up out of the Jordan.’ Joshua therefore commanded the priests, ‘Come up out of the Jordan.’ When the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the Lord came up from the middle of the Jordan, and the soles of the priests’ feet touched dry ground, the waters of the Jordan returned to their place and overflowed all its banks, as before.


The people came up out of the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and they camped in Gilgal on the eastern border of Jericho.Those twelve stones, which they had taken out of the Jordan, Joshua set up in Gilgal, saying to the Israelites, ‘When your children ask their parents in time to come, “What do these stones mean?” then you shall let your children know, “Israel crossed over the Jordan here on dry ground.” For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you crossed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we crossed over, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, and so that you may fear the Lord your God for ever.’

How do you mark when God shows up?  You have been there before. Something just happened that seems to only be of God or you had an encounter when you knew that God was present. How do we physically mark these spaces. For many of us we try to keep it in our memories. I remember encounters that made an impression on my heart.  When we moved my grandparents into a retirement facility last weekend there was a moment when Grant, Colin and I were laughing so hard about certain things that we were almost crying.  That was definitely a needed God moment. Or all of a sudden when Grant, Colin, Shaheen, my dad and I were trying desperately to fit all of the living room furniture just so I just knew that God was in the room.  How do you mark that?
The Celts call this space thin space or thin places.  The air around you is so thin between God and us that you can physically feel a difference in the space. Thin places transform us by just being in them and something can change to a thin place within a matter of seconds.   A contemporary poet Sharlande Sledge gives this description.

“Thin places,” the Celts call this space,
Both seen and unseen,
Where the door between the world
And the next is cracked open for a moment
And the light is not all on the other side.
God shaped space. Holy.

Thin places create in us a God shaped space because we have experienced what it means to be in God’s presence in an ordinary setting but in an extraordinary way.  The people of God in Joshua had an extraordinary experience and needed to mark it.  Like many of the stories in Hebrew scriptures they marked the space with stones. It is also what Jacob does when he wakes from his dream…he makes an altar in the world to mark where God has been.  I think today we tend to take pictures or post something on facebook or even blog about it. 🙂 We need to somehow mark God’s presence in the world, where we have encountered thin places.  Why might be a mark that you could make today? Will you take it all in? Create a picture? Or will you physically pick up a stone and make some sort of physical representation.  Altars are important to remind us when God shows up.  God is so physical that it makes a lot of sense.

Today create a space that marks God.  Pick up a stone. Create something. Create art around your experience. Write a letter. Create a picture that you can say, here is where God is.
I was listening to the podcast “On Being” yesterday where Krista Tippett is interviewing Fr. Greg Boyle.  This is an amazing and spiritual man who works for Homeboy Industries in California.  If you can, listen to the podcast. I was completely engaged but he says that God does not worry about us making things sacred, God worries that we will forget about God in the ordinary.  wow.  And then he went on to say that before meeting with someone he hears the words, “Now. Here this.” He then can be present and mark God’s presence.  Now. Here this.

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