Bishop Election Devotional for March 27, 2019
“My servant Moses is dead. Now proceed to cross the Jordan, you and all this people…only be strong and very courageous…” (Joshua 1: 2, 7)
By Rev. Henrique Fleming (Woyatan Lutheran, Rapid City)
Several years ago, I had the chance to cross the Atlantic Ocean to start a different life, a decision that did not come about easily. Almost everything I knew or possessed was left behind. I became a stranger immediately when I decided to embark upon this journey. I did not know where I was going even though my ticket revealed my destination. I entrusted the pilot to get me to my different life.
Prior to leaving my home of origin, I became conflicted as to whether I was making the right decision to travel such a distance with little or no support. On the day before my departure, I was faced with decision as to what goes into my luggage and what stays. Most of the things I was leaving back had sentimental values. However, I realized carrying everything was unrealistic, so I had to downsize. Boarding the plane was the easiest; the hardest was downsizing.
Crossing is always the easy part. The challenge is the process or preparation that goes into the crossing. Joshua’s apprehension was convincing the people that he was their new leader and he had a vision from God to cross the Jordan with them. For Joshua, crossing the Jordan River meant preparing his people physically and mentally. Some things we cannot do on our own. This is why God reassured Joshua, “Be strong and very courageous”. I can only imagine how Joshua’s announcement to Israel incited anxiety, if not chaos. How could they possess those lands when they have heard from reliable sources how much giants occupied them? This was a tough challenge and God did not promise it would be easy, but he encouraged them to be strong and courageous. In addition to their fear of the unexpected, they were still grieving the death of Moses. There wasn’t enough time.
So, it is in an election process. There isn’t enough time. We are at the crossing point of a new leadership. It must happen. Ready or not. The unsettling thing is we do not know who it will be. The assurance is that God is showing up again and He is not keeping quiet. He showed up to Joshua, he showed up to the three Hebrew boys in the fiery furnace, he showed up to Daniel in the Lion’s dent, he showed up to Saul on the road to Damascus, he will show up to us in our anxiety and indecision; he will not be quiet. So, let’s call on God for directions, welcome all the candidates, and prepare the ballots bearing in mind it is not realistic for all to serve in the same role. This crossing is God’s and God sets the agenda. It takes a lot to cross over from the known to the unknown, but we must be reminded that our journey is not of our choosing. Like God said to Joshua and Israel, He is saying the same to us, “proceed to cross…only be strong and very courageous.”
LET US PRAY
Everliving God, lead us into the future. Grant us the courage to accept what we find in our transition of life; keep us steadfast in our faith to embrace whoever you send to us to be our leader that we may walk together to do your work through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.
ELW # 669 “Rise Up, O Saints of God!”
Where is God in your transition?
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