While all Israel were crossing over on dry ground, the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firmly on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, until the entire nation finished crossing over the Jordan.
These past two years have been a long journey for everyone.
As September arrives, we feel very much like the Israelites as they left the desert ready to enter the promised land – there is a lot behind us – and a new future is ahead of us.
But that does not mean the journey is over – nor will the future be free of any challenges.
This is a time of new beginnings – an opportunity to start anew, to look to the future, while also remembering the past.
Two water crossings, the Red Sea and Jordan River, serve as bookends for the Israelite journey from slavery to freedom.
In the first, they left the land of struggle and humiliation; in the second, they entered the land of milk and honey. But in both crossings they didn’t rely on their own power. They didn’t swim, wade, or raft across the water but walked on dry ground. It was God who brought them across, the one who said, “Let the dry land appear” on the third day of creation, spoke his Word once more to usher his people on dry ground into the new creation of liberation and joy – a land of hope and promise.
When Jesus was baptized in the Jordan, it wasn’t the waters that were parted but the heavens themselves were torn open (Matt. 3:16). Jesus the representative of Israel, indeed, all humanity in one man, was welcomed by God as his beloved Son in whom he is well pleased. Baptized into Christ, we are wet with the waters of grace and yet also stand on the dry ground that leads to freedom and joy as the beloved children of God.
As we cross into a new era together unsure of the challenges that await us let us remember the ways that God has been faithful to this community not just these past two years – but for 185 of them.
And let us watch and take hold of the good things God has in store us.
Trusting that God makes a way out of no way and continues to walk alongside us.
Plant our feet firmly, God, on the ground of faith, hope, and love.