Standing on the Edge

Many of us have had the experience of standing on the edge.

As children, we pretend the curb is a high wire and we are the tightrope walker.

Who hasn’t tried to see just how far that chair would tip back in study hall?

Tourists flock by the tens of thousands each year to stand at the lip of the Grand Canyon and peer 2 miles down, down, down, all the way to the near-invisible rafters who brave the white waters of the Colorado River.

In our first reading, the people are on the edge of  new place. About to cross into the Promised Land, they are asked to renew their loyalty to the covenant God has made with them, and to take that covenant into the new place in which they are traveling.

This Labor Day weekend, the children of Minnesota are preparing for their first day of school.  For many, it is a standing-on-the-edge kind of experience.  Between the safety of home or daycare for kindergarten, the known terrain of the elementary school rituals for the variety of high-school classes.  Somewhere, at this very moment, college students are panicking, looking at the reading list on their syllabi, navigating a new roommate, or moving into a first apartment of their own.  And don’t forget their instructors and professors, who look out over a new group of faces which will soon be–but aren’t yet–known by name.  These are the edges of our lives.

As God’s people, we have the privilege of reminding those who stand on the edges of this great promise:  though all they may encounter will be unfamiliar, yet there is one place where they are never a stranger.  In God’s covenanting love, each pilgrim will always find a home.

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