Moses was dead. Joshua would take the people into the Promised Land. In chapter three of the book by his name, Joshua ordered the priests to carry the Ark into the middle of the Jordan River. As their feet touched the bank, the waters separated and the people crossed to the other side. Then God told Joshua to take 12 stones from the middle of the Jordan where the priests stood, and lay them down in the place they were to all set up camp for the night.
“Let this be a sign among you” God continued, “so that when your children ask later, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ then you shall say to them, ‘Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord . . . So these stones shall become a memorial to the sons of Israel forever.”(Joshua 4:6-7) A memorial. A point of reference. A looking back to the place from where we have come so we can better understand where we are now; and where we are going.
1300 years later a gospel writer wrote of another memorial, another point of reference also involving a stone: “But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. . . (Luke 24:1-2)
And when our children ask, "What does this stone mean to you?" we do well to tell them from where we have come, so we -- and hopefully they -- can better understand where we are now; and where we are going.
What does that stone mean to us?