Pr27A Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Matthew 25:1-13
What does it mean that the bridegroom has not yet arrived, as in Matthew’s parable. Does it mean that he has been delayed? Or is he simply not coming?
In 1 Thessalonians, what did it mean that Jesus’ second coming was several years later than expected? What should it mean for us, two thousand years later. Is Jesus late or simply not coming?
What does it mean that the vote tally on November 3 did not definitively fire Donald Trump. Will it take a few more days to get him out of office or a few more years or never?
We don’t yet know what it means. We don’t know what the future will bring. We can still have hope, but we also have good reason to be very afraid.
Whatever the future holds, we will need to be clear about who we are and what we value.
Before they crossed into what they believed was the Promised Land, Joshua asked the people to re-affirm their covenant with God. They had entered into a covenant with God before at Sinai. Since then, during their forty years in the wilderness, they had made some mistakes. But they had done their best to observe the covenant. So now that they had arrived at the Promised Land, why should they re-up again?
Much in the Book of Joshua is worth forgetting, but this story is an exception. The people did need to re-affirm the covenant if for no other reason than that they were no longer alone in the wilderness. They would now be living their values while surrounded by people who had different values and different commitments. That is more difficult to do.
Right now, half of America believes it is on the verge of the Promised Land. The other half believes it is being cast into the wilderness again. The future is uncertain and more than a little frightening. Our fellow citizens may or may not share our values. It is more important than ever that we remind ourselves everyday about who we are and what we value.