Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Joshua and the flood prayer

In reading Joshua 24, interesting how Joshua recounts (4 times: in vss. 2, 3, 14, and 15) to the children of Israel that their fathers had "served false gods on the other side of the flood."

The specific meaning of "flood" here is of course the Jordan river, which brings to mind a whole host of associations with the baptism of our Savior in that same river, and the parallel extends down to our baptism, too: we're taken to the water, connected with God's Word, and we no longer serve the false gods, but after coming over the flood, we serve the true God, the God who deigns to put His name on us, and make us His own.

Which brings to mind the other association for liturgy and theology: Luther's baptismal flood prayer:

"Almighty and eternal God, according to Your strict judgment You condemned the unbelieving world through the flood, Yet according to Your great mercy You preserved believing Noah and his family, eight souls in all. You drowned hard-hearted Pharaoh and all his host in the Red Sea , yet led Your people through the water on dry ground, foreshadowing this washing of Your Holy Baptism. Through the Baptism in the of Your beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, You sanctified and instituted all waters to be a blessed flood and a lavish washing away of sin. We pray that You would behold us according to Your boundless mercy and bless us with true faith by the Holy Spirit, that through this saving flood all sin in us, which have been inherited from Adam and which we ourselves have committed since, would be drowned and die. Grant that we be kept safe and secure in the holy Ark of the Christian Church, being separated from the multitude of unbelievers and serving Your name at all times with a fervent spirit and a joyful hope, so that, with all believers in Your promise, we would be declared worthy of eternal life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen."

About which Fr. Ryan Fouts has some interesting thoughts. Fouts doesn't connect Joshua 24, but his thoughts on the flood prayer are rewarding and worthwhile.

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