Friday, February 11, 2005

The Ark as a symbol of the incarnation

Prof. Conrad Gempf offers these meditations on Joshua 3 & 4, where the Israelites carry the Ark of the Covenant across the Jordon into the Promised Land:

Now, in Joshua, the business gets done by this holy box of gold. I thought we were trying to get away from God in a box.

And yet, there's an important spiritual lesson being taught to Israel by the Ark. The priests stand with the Box in the middle of the river. Often when you have something golden and valuable, you'd make sure that it was exposed to danger as little as possible. You'd rush it across. Am I reading too much in to it when I see a metaphor of the Incarnation? God shows that he's going to be present with his people. He'll demonstrate his power not just by hovering transcendently above it all but by being down on the ground -- the one who deliberately plants himself at the center of the problem and stays there until we've all safely scurried across.

I had never seen it that way before.


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