Tuesday nights are generally rather ordinary. They don’t hold much meaning in our social world. They are a typical work day, school day, weekday. They are rarely a holiday. Not often do we have special occasions celebrated on them. And they seem to be a little vanilla: vanilla is good, but with all the other ice cream flavors out there, is plain-ol’ vanilla ever anyone’s first and only choice? No, not often.
But this ordinary Tuesday, which supposedly comes along the second week of every month with a community of busy people who have busy jobs and busy relationships, becomes extraordinary because these people come together to worship an incredible, beyond-our-imagination awesome, powerful God who created the universe and is still intricately involved in it. This particularly Tuesday night is no longer ordinary.
My regular schedule had changed, so I added this not-so-regular event to my calendar. It was a bunch of ordinary people coming together to intentionally worship an extraordinary God. Mostly young adults, probably those without children because they were able to attend such an event after dark on a week night, coming from all different occupations that day and with no participation requirements defined by relationships status. It was a convergence of the big “C” Church gathering without question or concern of denomination or participation. Those leading the event simply – yes, simply – lead a community in worship, carved out a time for prayer and read Scripture. The backyard was lit by white sparkly lights, and what might have been a bed sheet made up the screen on which the song lyrics were projected. There was one carafe of hot, apple cider and were no chairs. Voices of about a hundred people combined to resonate through the neighborhood. On what had been an ordinary Tuesday night.
The book of Joshua is one of ordinary Old Testament stories in the Bible. God has a leader chosen for His people. God has the leader guide His chosen people as they reclaim the land that was theirs and move into the Promise Land. If this book were made into a Hollywood movie, it would be under the “action adventure” section. Sometimes, the Israelites veer of course and take matters into their own hands. They think that they know better than the God who created them, find themselves up a creek without a paddle and are graciously guided back into the arms of this amazing God who loves them and never ceases to forgive. It’s typical for the Old Testament.
Until we get to chapter 8. Joshua 8:30-35 is not so ordinary. I’d even say it’s a little extraordinary. In the midst of chaos, reclaiming the Promise Land and all these battles, they stop. They stop to remember the extraordinary. Joshua has them stop. Pause. Be still. Not do anything “productive” for a little while. Rest. They “build on Mount Ebal an alter to the Lord, the God of Israel” (Joshua 8:30). The masses surround both sides of this mountain, taking up every inch of space. Even those who were not Israelites join them in this great act of worship, sacrifice and remembering. And at this extraordinary event, they read the Word of God, worship the Lord and take a moment to remember all that He has done for them and through them. They take time to wonder, awe and take note of how amazing this God is.
There’s something about intentionally making the ordinary extraordinary that you can’t explain. There’s nothing special about two guitars, a keyboard, words on a screen and people standing there singing them. There’s nothing magical about the sparkly lights or special in the hot, apple cider. But when we take a moment to consider, reflect on and worship the God who created us and so deeply loves us, it becomes extraordinary.