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  • Writer's pictureDan Stanford

If Stones Could Talk

Joshua 4:6

“In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD.”

Have you ever had a Little Debbie's snack?

Nutty bars

Swiss rolls

Cup cakes

Oatmeal Creme pies

157 billion have been sold since 1960. There's nothing little about that. There were two things I looked forward to on the after school bus-ride home: cartoons and Little Debbie's snacks.

One of my sons saw a show where a lady was eating a Nutty Bar and he asked me if they are any good. I said to him you're six. You're practically an adult and you've never had a little Debbie's?!? We stopped the show and took a trip to the store. I didn't even explain to my wife where we were going. I felt like such a bad dad for depriving my son of Little Debbie's delicacies for so long. It says right on the box "Unwrap a Smile." He deserves to smile.

We ran into a friend and he asked me what we were doing. When I explained the Little Debbie's mission he started telling us about how he looked forward to them after school as well. I should clarify, he tried to explain this as he jogged along side of us while we breezed through the store.

When we got out to the car I ripped one open. This was too important to wait until we got home. I felt like I was unwrapping an ancient family relic. His eyes lit up, mouth watered as he sunk his teeth into layers of chocolate and peanut butter wafers. The crunch sounded like Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus." I enjoyed inviting my son into a ritual that meant so much to me growing up. I couldn't wait to hear his assessment:

"They're alright."

I made him change his last name right then and there.

Joshua could probably relate. This was a historic moment for Israel. They had a new leader. Everyone wants to know if he’s worth following. After all their last leader was Moses. How would you like to be the leader that follows Moses?

He received the Ten Commandments.

He parted the Red Sea.

He talked to God and God talked back.

One day Batman (Christian Bale) will play him in a movie.

Joshua needed God's endorsement. God parts the Jordan River as a way of saying, "just like I was with Moses so I will be with Joshua." Joshua is instructed to do something weird. He’s supposed to have 12 guys go into the middle of the Jordan and collect 12 stones. They were to create a religious ritual. They were to routinely visit the rocks. When the children saw them after traveling a long distance they would naturally say, "we came all this way to stare at a pile of rocks?" And then their parents would tell them a story. They would tell them about God’s goodness and faithfulness.

Rituals/ traditions are supposed to tell a story. They create community because it's not just a story, it's our story. In Zambia, the word ritual means "to leave a path of broken branches. To find ones way from the unknown to the known." Rituals can do that. They can create a path, a path taken by those who have gone before.

What traditions are you using to pass healthy values on to the next generation?

#Joshua #NextGeneration

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