Joshua said, ‘This stone shall be a witness against us because it has heard all the words that the Lord has spoken to us: it shall be a witness against you in case you deny your God.’ (Joshua 24:27).
Our reading from Joshua presents the beautiful imagery of a great stone set up in the place where the faithful have gathered as a silent reminder of the covenant they have made with God. A great stone, standing tall and immovable; a stark reminder of a promise made to God… We may think that this Old Testament verse has no relevance for us, but if we were to change it slightly, making it plural, its significance would be more clear to us: ‘These stones shall be a witness against us because they have heard all the words that the Lord has spoken: they shall be a witness against you in case you deny your God.’
|Iona, Inner Hebrides|
Look around you, the stones of this church have heard to words of the Lord for centuries, they have witnessed to countless people kneeling in prayer, and they would be witnesses against us if we ever denied our God with the way we live. Every church spire, every church cross, every crumbling monastic ruin in our landscape, are all reminders that at our baptism we too have made a covenant with God to serve him alone. So, each time we enter a church and we see these hallowed stones that witness to our faith, let us pray that we may become ever more constant in God’s service; let us mentally renew our promise;
“Yes, Lord, it is you we chose to serve, it is your voice that we will obey!” (Cf. Joshua 24:22)