Moses followed God’s orders. He took Joshua and stood him before Eleazar the priest in front of the entire community. He laid his hands on him and commissioned him, following the procedures God had given Moses. Numbers 27:22-23 (MSG)
A week or so ago I was catching up with a long-time friend. When I asked him what he’d been experiencing in his own life and faith journey, he commented that he’d learned that life was separated into several different “seasons.” In the simplicity of our youth we tend to think of life in simple terms. We are children and then we become adults. We’re young and then we grow old.
My friend was correct, however. There are many seasons in life and with each passing season there is time of transition which can be accompanied by grief, joy, confusion, contentment, frustration, and any number of other emotions.
There is something essentially human in needing “rites of passage” to help us transition from one season of life into another. In today’s chapter, God saw to it that Moses created a rite of passage to transition authority and leadership from himself to Joshua. Likewise, we have graduation services, weddings, showers, special ceremonies, confirmations, birthday parties, and awards dinners to help us mark time and the occasions when life transitions from one season into another.
My experience is that some of the most important rites of passage have been lost or weakened in our time and culture. The rite of passage for girls into womanhood, and boys into manhood are incredibly blurry (and often non-existent) in today’s world.
Today, I’m thankful for life in all of its seasons. Death-like winter seasons of difficulty teach us wisdom, patience, perseverance and prove our character. Summer-like seasons of joy provide rest, healing, abundance, contentment and celebration. I’m also mindful today of how I can consciously help my family, friends and loved ones as they transition from one season to another through our various rites of passage.