In Joshua 22, there’s an altar built by the people of Reuben and the people of Gad. They called the altar Witness, “For,” they said, “it is a witness between us that the LORD is God.” it was an altar symbolizing that even though the tribes were separated by the Jordan river, they hearts remained united in the worship of God.
And as I sit here in this Starbucks, looking out onto New Street, I can’t help but wonder what are the symbolic altars erected in the city of Birmingham and what do they stand for. I see streets lined with shops, full of signs saying Sale and Discount. I see the shop windows full of people who are supposedly beautiful looking making me feel severely underdressed. I see signs selling me beautiful holidays in exotic places – escape from the grey skies of central England. These altars declaring a hope of a better life if you spend more money. Altars promising rest and refreshment. Altars testifying to a (better) life.
But as I sit here and look a bit longer, my eyes stray off of the buildings and billboards and onto the faces if the people walking by. The man holding the subway sign whose sole job is to stand there so people know the closest subway is 30 seconds away. I see the man with his headphones on rushing through the crowds listening to the soundtrack of his life. Half of the people walk by either on their phones or in conversation with their walking partner, and the other half of the people walk by in solitude.
I wonder what’s going on in peoples heads. I wonder where they are going. I make up stories about what job they’re in, why they are smiling or frowning, what their troubles and worries are. I wonder if they have ever heard about Jesus.
Each person with a story. Each person a testimony to their own life. What do they stand for. What do they believe in. What are the altars in their lives. What things have they seen and experienced. What are they a witness to.
And I wonder about myself. The things that I’ve seen. The stories that I’ve witnessed. Does my life witness God? Do my conversations witness God? Do my actions witness God?
Where are the altars that I worship at? What is the story that my life is telling?
God open my eyes to see, my ears to hear, my mouth to speak, my legs to go, my arms to bless. Let me be your living testimony.
These were some thoughts about the twentieth episode in our series on Joshua. You can find all the the messages as well as the worship at the BCEC Sermon Page or or listen to the sermon directly – Joshua 22.