Monday, February 13, 2017

Leviticus 19:1-8
I confess that I am not a big fan of Leviticus. In my less than pious moments I wonder if the Levites wrote all those regulations just to pad their pensions for although they were the tribe that "had no land" they got most of the goods. And I question what seem to be arbitrary laws as I 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 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 is not a threat. It’s a promise. It is not conditional. It’s guaranteed. The grace that is found in the whole of scripture is God’s desire to be in relationship with humanity. And like all relationships of significance there are sacrifices made and 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. Martin Luther called it the great exchange. But the part of piety that we often miss entirely is the prominent feature of Leviticus. To be “holy” is all about how we care for others, especially the neighbor, ones in our employ, the poor, the alien, the deaf, the blind because our holiness is about how we care for others in the same way that God’s holiness has everything to do with how God cares for us. So serving the other is serving God and the refrain “I am the Lord your God” is just another way of God saying remember “I love you”.

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