I am finally sitting down to write this blog and even though the day held legitimate interruptions to my schedule I will confess I participated in no small amount of avoidance behavior. I’m just not a big fan of Leviticus, in fact in less than pious moments I wonder if the Levites didn’t make a good bit of it up to pad their pensions. I question what seem to be arbitrary laws and am highly suspicious of the tyranny of religious systems. On the other hand I cannot escape my Augustinian understanding of the depravity of the human creature, mostly because I know myself all too well. So what turns out to be saving grace for me in this lesson full of law is the refrain. “I am the Lord your God.” It’s not a threat. It’s a promise. It’s not conditional. It’s guaranteed. The grace that is found in the whole of scripture is God’s desire to be in relationship with us. And like all relationships of significance there are sacrifices made, a joining that calls for compromise. We who are less than perfect are made perfect in God and God who is more than perfect takes on imperfection for the sake of loving us. The part that we often miss or worse reject entirely is the prominent feature of Leviticus. To be “holy” has more to do with how we care for others, especially the neighbor, ones in our employ, the poor, the alien, the deaf, and the blind than sacrifices made to God because God’s holiness has everything to do with how God cares for us. Serving the other is serving God and the refrain “I am the Lord your God” is just another way of saying, "remember I love you" which is just another way of saying, "love each other" both of which seem quite appropriate for Valentine’s Day.