Blessing of the Land
As we begin the process of renovating portions of our church campus and building the new Ministry Center, we gather to offer a blessing over the land upon which we will build and to be reminded of God's faithfulness to lead us into new spaces and places for the sake of God's Kingdom.
A Reading from Joshua 4:4-9
Joshua called for the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one man per tribe. Joshua said to them, "Cross over into the middle of the Jordan, up to the Lord your God's chest. Each of you, lift up a stone on his shoulder to match the number of the tribes of the Israelites. This will be a symbol among you. In the future your children may ask, 'What do these stones mean to you?' Then you will tell them that the water of the Jordan was cut off before the Lord's covenant chest. When it crossed over the Jordan, the water of the Jordan was cut off. These stones will be an enduring memorial for the Israelites."
The Israelites did exactly what Joshua ordered. They lifted twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, matching the number of the tribes of the Israelites, exactly as the Lord had said to Joshua. They brought them over to the camp and put them down there. Joshua also set up twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan where the feet of the priests had stood while carrying the covenant chest. They are still there today.
The Stones: "What do these stones mean to you?"
You are invited to take a stone home with you as a reminder of how God has brought us to this place in our journey. Over these next months as we work to complete the Ministry Center, may the stone serve as a reminder to pray for our congregation as we follow God's leading in the building and renovation taking place. When the work is finished and we consecrate the Ministry Center and all of our renovated spaces to God's purposes, we invite you to bring your stone back for us to place as a symbol of what God has done for Point Washington United Methodist Church.
Leader: Providing God, when you brought the Israelites out of the desert
into the land which you had promised them,
your presence preceded them.
While the nation of Israel, weary from many years of waiting,
stood on the banks of the over-flowing Jordan,
your power parted the waters.
The people, witnesses to your wonders,
walked into the Promised Land across the Jordan's dry riverbed.
All: Sing to the Lord, all the earth! See God's power and provision.
Remember all that God has done!
Leader: Faithful God, you commanded the people to pick up 12 stones from the riverbed,
a symbol for the children who would come after them, to remind them:
You are God, who keeps promises.
You are God, who rescues your people.
You are God, who sees a future we cannot yet envision.
You are a God, who makes a way when we come to the end of our own means.
All: Sing to the Lord, all the earth! Our God is loyal and unwavering.
Trust God in all things!
Leader: Generous God, we give thanks for all who have responded to your goodness
by giving of their time, talents, gifts, service, and witness to make this moment possible.
We are grateful for your faithful presence
as you have shepherded us for years to this new day in our church.
May your blessing continue to rest upon this land which your created
and upon our congregation as we seek to follow you into the future you have for us.
We humbly ask for your Spirit to anoint the work of all of those
who will labor to build the new Ministry Center
and those who will repair and renovate our whole church.
We pray for your guidance in all of the decisions that will be made,
for your will to be done, and for your Kingdom to be realized here among us.
All: Sing to the Lord, all the earth! God's generosity is without measure.
The earth and everything in it belongs to God!
Generous God, bless this land and all build upon it to your glory,
bless our gifts and talents for the good of all people,
bless the ministries of our church so that the name of Jesus Christ may be praised,
and bless the dawning of a new day for Point Washington United Methodist Church.
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen.