Nineteenth Day of Lent   14 comments

Moses with the Ten Commandments, by Rembrant van Rijn (1659)

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Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Collect and lections from the Episcopal Lesser Feasts and Fasts Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints

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Follow the assigned readings with me this Lent….

Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 5-9 (TANAKH: The Holy Scriptures):

[Moses said,]

And now, O Israel, give heed to the laws and rules that I am instructing you to observe, so that you may live to enter and occupy the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you.  You shall not add anything to what I command you or take anything away from it, but keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I enjoin upon you.

See, I have imparted to you the laws and rules, as the LORD my God has commanded me, for you to abide by in the land that you are about to enter and occupy.  Observe them faithfully, for that will be proof of your wisdom and discernment to other peoples, who on hearing of all these laws will say, ‘Surely that great nation is a wise and discerning people.’  For what great nation is there that has a god so close at hand as is the LORD our God whenever we call upon Him?  Or what great nation has laws and rules as perfect as all this Teaching that I set before you this day?

But take utmost care and watch yourselves scrupulously, so that you do not forget the things that you saw with your own eyes and so that they do not fade from your mind as long as you live.  And make them known to your children and to your children’s children.

Psalm 78:1-8 (TANAKH: The Holy Scriptures):

Give ear, my people, to my teaching,

turn your ear to what I say.

I will expound a theme,

hold forth on the lessons of the past,

things we have heard and known,

that our fathers have hold us.

We will not withhold them from their children,

telling the coming generation

the praises of the LORD and His might,

and the wonders He performed.

He established a decree in Jacob,

ordained a teaching in Israel,

charging our fathers

to make known to their children,

that a future generation might know

–children yet to be born–

and in turn tell their children

that they might put their confidence in God,

and not forget God’s great deeds,

but observe His commandments,

and not be like their fathers,

a wayward and defiant generation,

a generation whose heart was inconstant,

whose spirit was not true to God.

Matthew 5:17-19 (The New Testament in Modern English–Revised Edition):

[Jesus said,]

You must not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to complete them.  Indeed, I assure you that, while Heaven and earth last, the Law will not lose a single dot or comma until its purpose is complete.  This means that whoever now relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men to do the same will himself be called least in the kingdom of Heaven.  But whoever teaches and practises them will be called great in the kingdom of Heaven.

The Collect:

Give ear to our prayers, O Lord, and direct the way of your servants in safety under our protection, that, amid all the changes of our earthly pilgrimage, we may be guarded by your mighty aid; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

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The Law of Moses contains many great commandments, such as not committing murder and not coveting.  It also explains procedures to follow when selling one’s daughter into slavery (Exodus 21:7) and tells when stoning people to death is permissible.  And let us not forget Exodus 21:17, which reads, “Whoever curses father or mother shall be put to death.”

So, what are we to make of  the Law of Moses in relation to the example and teachings of Jesus?  I write as a Christian, after all.  Would Jesus tell a parent to sell his or her daughter into slavery?  Whom would Jesus stone?  And how should we interpret Exodus 21:17 in the light of forgiveness?

Jesus stated that the summary of the Law of Moses is to love God completely and one’s neighbor as oneself.  This is the simplest and best answer I can provide.  And don’t stone anyone, sell anyone into slavery, or execute any child who has cursed a parent.  Would you sell yourself into slavery?  Would you volunteer for a stoning?  And would you hand over your child for execution?

KRT

Written on February 28, 2010

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Posted October 28, 2010 by neatnik2009 in 2020, Episcopal Church Lectionary, March 18

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