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Jericho
Jericho
Story

Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Olympia who had a dream. She dreamed that one day she would grow up to be a minister. But during the 1800s, only men were ministers, so it didn’t seem likely that Olympia’s dream would come true. Olympia, however, continued to dream.

Time passed, and the little girl became a young woman. Olympia wrote a letter to a school that taught people how to be ministers, and her letter said that she would like to study there. The school wrote back and told her that it was not a good idea for her to come because she was a woman. Olympia was crushed. It was like someone had put a giant wall between her and her dream. But then she remembered a story from the Bible about a man named Joshua.

Joshua was leading the Hebrew people out of the desert into the Promised Land. But when they arrived, they discovered they had a problem—somebody else was living there. The Hebrew people were tired and wanted to rest. They had wandered with Moses in the desert for 40 years trying to find a home. After Moses died, Joshua had led the Hebrew people to a beautiful land, but the people of that land did not want to share it with them. They had built a giant wall around the city of Jericho and were prepared to fight to keep Joshua’s people out.

Joshua marched up to the walled city and knocked on the door. “Open the door and let us in!” he cried. But the people of the city replied, “Not by the hair of our chinny chin chins!”

Joshua walked away feeling very sad. The walls of Jericho were very high, and there seemed no way his people could enter the city to find a home there. Feeling stressed, Joshua went to find a quiet spot to meditate.

As Joshua sat in his quiet spot, he got a crazy idea. In fact, the idea was so crazy he was sure it came from God. Joshua ran to tell his people, and all the Hebrew people gathered to hear him speak.

“Let us march around the walls of Jericho and blow our ram’s horn,” Joshua told them.

The Hebrew people were quiet for a moment. They were waiting for the rest of the idea, but Joshua remained silent. Finally, someone asked, “And then what?”

“That’s it,” Joshua said. “That’s the plan. Don’t you love it? We will march around the walls of the city once a day for seven days and blow our horns.”

Now, most people thought that Joshua had lost his marbles, but they went along with the idea. For six days they marched around the walls of Jericho blowing their horns and, in truth, they felt like idiots. But on the seventh day, something incredible happened. As the Hebrew people blew their horns, the walls of Jericho began to rumble and shake. Suddenly, the city walls came tumbling to the ground! Joshua’s crazy idea had worked! The Hebrew people were free to walk right into the Promised Land.

As Olympia remembered the story of Joshua, she began to get her own crazy idea. She decided that she would go to the school for ministers and take classes no matter what anyone else said, and that is just what she did. The men didn’t know what to do when Olympia showed up. They got very nervous and tried to talk her out of her dream. But Olympia wouldn’t let anyone put a wall between her and her dream. Finally, the men decided that they could not stop Olympia. She studied hard and was every bit as smart, if not smarter, than the men in the school.

In 1863, Olympia Brown was ordained a Universalist minister. She was one of the first woman ministers in America. Olympia’s dream came true because she knew that although there is a time to be quiet, sometimes you have to blow your own horn before the walls come tumbling down.

About the Author

  • The Rev. Chris Buice is minister of the Tennessee Valley UU Church in Knoxville, Tenn.

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