17 Aug 2019
Joshua said to all the people, ‘Fear the Lord and serve him perfectly and sincerely; put away the gods that your ancestors served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if you will not serve the Lord, choose today whom you wish to serve, whether the gods that your ancestors served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are now living. As for me and my House, we will serve the Lord.’
The people answered, ‘We have no intention of deserting the Lord and serving other gods! Was it not the Lord our God who brought us and our ancestors out of the land of Egypt, the house of slavery, who worked those great wonders before our eyes and preserved us all along the way we travelled and among all the peoples through whom we journeyed? What is more, the Lord drove all those peoples out before us, as well as the Amorites who used to live in this country. We too will serve the Lord, for he is our God.’
Then Joshua said to the people, ‘You cannot serve the Lord, because he is a holy God, he is a jealous God who will not forgive your transgressions or your sins. If you desert the Lord to follow alien gods he in turn will afflict and destroy you after the goodness he has shown you.’ The people answered Joshua, ‘No; it is the Lord we wish to serve.’ Then Joshua said to the people, ‘You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the Lord, to serve him.’ They answered, ‘We are witnesses.’ ‘Then cast away the alien gods among you and give your hearts to the Lord the God of Israel!’ The people answered Joshua, ‘It is the Lord our God we choose to serve; it is his voice that we will obey.’
That day, Joshua made a covenant for the people; he laid down a statute and ordinance for them at Shechem. Joshua wrote these words in the Book of the Law of God. Then he took a great stone and set it up there, under the oak in the sanctuary of the Lord, and Joshua said to all the people, ‘See! This stone shall be a witness against us because it has heard all the words that the Lord has spoken to us: it shall be a witness against you in case you deny your God.’ Then Joshua sent the people away, and each returned to his own inheritance.
After these things Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died; he was a hundred and ten years old.
People brought little children to Jesus, for him to lay his hands on them and say a prayer. The disciples turned them away, but Jesus said, ‘Let the little children alone, and do not stop them coming to me; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.’ Then he laid his hands on them and went on his way.
“It is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.”
There have been instances when I will go to mass or sit in an adoration room marveling in awe at His power and majesty — praising Him for His blessings and gifts; my heart buzzing with warmth as I soak in His presence and I pour my heart out to him; contemplating on His awesomeness, feeling blessed and grateful as I sit under His watchful eyes and simply adore Him, with no need for words.
Sadly, I have to admit, there were times too many to count, where I would sit in His presence physically, but my mind and soul would be somewhere else. As an adult, often I am distracted by worldly ways, burdened by responsibilities and worries. At times, pride, ego, the lure of fame, status and glory of this world consumes my soul and my entire being! And the noise of this world, these other gods, drowns out the precious moments I have set aside for God. How then, do we hang onto the innocence of a child as we approach God?
I am not sure if I have the answers and I continue to struggle. As one grows up, we are tainted by the environment and the people around us. This drives us to skepticism, to build up defenses to protect ourselves, inflate our ego to appear better than we are, just to be accepted by those around us and by the world at large. For the sake of survival, we mistakenly think that this is the only way to toughen ourselves, and the only way to get love and recognition, to belong. Through it all, we lose sight of the most fundamental truth and that is — we are a child of God!
I guess the more I seek Him in earnestness, the more He will reveal to me who He intends for me to be. Only in His presence can we see our true essence, our essence as a child of our Creator. And only by returning to Him with childlike disposition, can we feel complete and whole; for that is where we truly belong. In John 15:18-19 “we do not belong to this world”, no amount of trying to fit in with this whole world will give us the joy and happiness our heart desires.
To serve the Lord as little children seems like a life-long struggle. As I reflect further, I recall how my children were like and draw lessons from them. I will go to my Lord with trust, adoration, awe and wonder. With a pure and joyful heart, always happy to see Him, running to tell Him about my days and my life experiences. This is how I imagine what it will be like, and I take consolation that as long as I continue to strive, I believe He will see my yearning of my soul and lay his hands on me.
(Today’s Oxygen by Lorraine Wong)
Prayer: Dear Lord, have mercy on me for times where I have put other gods before you. For times where I have sought acceptance and consolation in others, and worldly things. Teach me Lord, to seek you and to serve you and you only, as a child of yours.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord for the reminder that nothing of this world will ever satisfy my soul, only in you Lord I truly belong.