“Let us now build an altar, not for burnt offering, nor for sacrifice, but to be a witness between us and you, and between the generations after us …” ( Joshua 22: 26b-27a from Joshua 22:1-34 )
Some of the tribes of Israel lived at a distance from the Tabernacle of the Lord. So they wanted a reminder of the Tabernacle and altar. It was not meant to take the place of, but be a reminder to themselves and the generations that followed that there was and is a place where all Israelites could come together to worship the Lord.
The verses from Joshua chapter 22 say that the builders of the altar were worried that in years to come they might be cut off from worshiping at the Tabernacle, so the altar was an important tie to what they felt was important in their lives.
I like the idea of passing on traditions, keeping them alive, and keeping family memories intact. We have some important traditions and memories in our family. And it seems as the years go by they become more important – touchstones to remind us of who we are and what we mean to each other. I also have memories of my family of origin, and I think back over them from time to time, reminding myself of times gone by. And looking forward to the time – in this life or the next – that we might be together again.
I hope, gentle reader, that you have memories and traditions that mean something to you. And I hope and pray that you keep them alive. I believe this place would be a much kinder gentler world if we felt connections to to family and friends. Shalom for your day!