Monday, August 27, 2012

Pentecost 14b - Deuteronomy 4:1-9

Deuteronomy 4:1-9

It sounds fairly straightforward. Obey and live or don’t and die. For a while it was as simple as that. But then the wise and discerning people figured out that going through the motions worked just as well so that much later God speaking through the prophet Isaiah will lament, “these people honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me.” (29:13) Maybe it was the do or die that confused them. That’s not the best basis for a relationship. Oh, of course there are consequences and rewards in any relationship but what God earnestly desired were people whose hearts were close because they wanted to be close; because they remembered they were slaves in Egypt and God heard their cry; because they remembered God led them through the waste land and did not abandon them though they continually complained; because they remembered the first sight of the land flowing with milk and honey. It turns out the burden God bears is the not so wise and discerning forgetful people God loves. And so God continually reworks what the relationship is supposed to look like – dumbing it down if you will. Like the prophet Micah speaking for God - how about if all you do is act justly; love mercy, and walk humbly with me. Would that work for you?  (6:8) Jesus reduces the whole of scripture and the 613 mosaic laws to two - love God and love neighbor. Now if we could do that we’d really be wise and discerning and I bet folks would notice. So take care and watch yourselves in such a way that you remember to love the God you cannot see as best you can and maybe the neighbor you can see, even a little better.  

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