A Room with a View
If you do not want to worship YHWH, then make the decision today whom you will worship, even if it is the gods of your ancestors beyond the Euphrates or the gods of the Amorites in whose country you live. As for me and my household, we will worship YHWH.~ Joshua 24:15
Common Murres are relatives of the Atlantic Puffin, and can be found nesting on some of the same coastal islands as their cousins. They, however, do not nest in burrows, but right out on the edge of rocky cliffs. Their eggs are pointy, making them pivot on themselves when they roll, reducing the risk of them rolling off the edge. That is important since they only lay a single egg and don’t really build much of a nest if anything at all. They are monogamous and tend to stick with the same mate for consecutive seasons, returning to the exact nest location year after year.
You might think with that sort of site tenacity that it is prime real estate. The ocean views are certainly spectacular on the sheer cliffs right on the water, well, more accurately often hundreds of feet over the water. Did I mention that the cliffs are sheer? Getting to and from the nest site to fish in the nearby deep waters is not much of a problem for an adult bird experienced in flight, but imagine the journey down to the water for a newly hatched chick. Their first trip is much more of a tumble than a flight. And yet, even like their parents, they return to the same location year after year.
The Hebrew people took the long way to the Promised Land and then had to work to occupy it. They contended with God all the way. Kids in the back seat whining “are we there yet?” can’t hold a candle to the annoying behavior God endured to get the people to where they belonged. And here, right before they settle in, their leader Joshua has one vital question for them, “whose side are you on?” He calls on the people to reaffirm their commitment to their God and effectively affirm that the entire generation-long ordeal was worth it. In fact, the challenge is to agree that they would do it all over again just to get to this place.
Remembering the journey that got us to where we are, not minimizing the struggle, is critical to living in this present moment holding on to true hope for tomorrow. We can return to the rocky cliffs year after year if we recall how precious the life is that came from that dangerous situation. Hope is built on experience. Trust grows with practice. God offers us a home with all the protection we will ever need, God’s loving presence, and simply asks us to accept the gift.
Prayer: Sheltering God, thank you for the stunning views from the home you provide for us, but could you please do something about that first step? Perhaps we can learn to trust the wings you provide. Amen.