Peace School - We'll learn about Joshua renewing the covenant, from the fourth section in the Bible Storyline, "Conquest and Settlement." Hauntingly within the same week as Indegenous People's Day.
While Moses leads the Hebrews out of slavery in Egypt, Joshua leads the Israelites into Canaan. This is often one of the hardest parts of the Bible for me to read. It reminds me too much of imperialism and the devastating settlement of Europeans through North and South America, let alone the rest of the globe. But, we have to always pause and hear the Bible's version of the story before we argue or disregard it. Joshua was not in the same situation as Columbus. He may not have heard God as clearly as we'd hope today, but he was listening for God and not a King or Queen. Instead of focusing on conquest, Joshua was primarily interested in keeping the people focused on God.
Can we teach our children to listen for God's ways, and to focus on God more than our own desires? Joshua was a child of slaves leaving a huge Empire. Joshua was not wealthy, and the Israelites were a ragged group of nomads by most Biblical Scholars' opinions. Furthermore, cities like Jericho were often the places where power could rule over the surrounding area. Still not pacifist enough for me, and still not the Jesus Way I seek to follow. But it does make me wrestle with my own lifestyle - do I seek an ongoing relationship with God before I choose my spouse/family, house, career, church, etc.? This story begs the question, who are we really in a covenant with? Do we follow in the footsteps of Moses or Pharaoh (slaves or slave owners)? Joshua chose to follow in Moses' footsteps. And so did the Israelites, at least for a short while. But more on that the 25th while we consider the judges and then in November when we consider the kingdoms. It's challenging to move out of slavery, and to create a new reality that doesn't enslave someone else!
Reflect - To learn more about Joshua, you can find the stories in your own Bible (5th Graders), Spark Story Bible (4th Graders), Shine On Story Bible (3rd Graders):
A Message from God - Deut. 6:1-9, Spark 100 (how Joshua learned about God), Shine 70-73
Battle of Jericho - Joshua 6:1-20, Spark 102 (God is the power, not military might), Shine 74
You can also use the following activity from Building Faith (a Mennonite resource) to learn about "Sharing What We Have." It makes me want to ask - what would have been an even better story ending for Joshua than conquest and settlement. Could the Canaanites (and Egyptians for that matter!) have simply shared, and the Israelites simply asked?
Pray - Consider reciting a version of the LORD's Prayer on page 278 in Spark, 198 in Shine. There's also a contemporary version down below from New Zealand.
Serve - As we celebrate the Relief Sale on the 17th, learn about another MCC project that is ongoing - Meat Canning. Video is below.
Explore - Watch more videos from our Jewish friends about Joshua below (another great version is the Veggie Tales version). Consider what it means to have this story in our Bible. Consider where you would go after Egypt and living in the desert. Consider if this at all follows the pilgrim stories of why some left Europe, and why they chose Turtle Island. Here's a great MCC site to explore for older children and parent conversations.
Jan.-March Young Voices for Peace
March 5 1:30pm YVP Concert at FMC
March 10-12 Annual Winter Retreat at RMMC - contact Rachel B. for details. Registration concludes Feb. 26
May 21 Peace School Finale and potluck picnic