Saturday, June 20, 2009

Domestic Break 4/40: All Night Long

I'm behind. I should be on Numbers 5 and I'm on Leviticus 8. Catch up later I guess! It's been a busy day! (moving and father's day activities)

I did want to share one of my all-time favorite passages from Leviticus 6 though.

Verses 12 and 13:
The fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must not go out. Every morning the priest is to add firewood and arrange the burnt offering on the fire and burn the fat of the fellowship offerings on it. The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go out.

I tend to think in metaphors and allegories. My brain automatically jumps to the command in Romans 12 that we are to be living sacrifices whenever I read this passage. Every morning we should add fuel to our fire. Every morning we should "arrange" our offering (going with the metaphor - to me that means kind of evaluating myself - looking at my life - where there needs to be change). This fire should not go out. Of course - my fire has gone out more times than I can count in my life - which has only served to reiterate the importance of it not going out.

A few days before I started this 40 day journey I also started reading The Gospel According To Moses: What My Jewish Friends Taught Me About Jesus by Athol Dickson. It's been interesting to read what is (so far) a commentary on the Old Testament while also reading the Old Testament. The book is written by a protestant after he was invited to attend a scripture study that met weekly at a Temple by a Jewish friend - it's the things he learned/insights he gained through listening to the very-Jewish practice of questioning the scriptures.

Here are a few quotes I read today that popped out to me in regards to some of my recent comments about how God's choices and actions don't always make sense to me. These are from a chapter titled "God In Chains" which discusses the idea of God limiting himself so that we may have free will. It also addresses the issue of justice/holiness vs. love/compassion/mercy

"Like Pontius Pilate asking, 'What is truth?' I am sometimes tempted to gauge justice on the scale of my self-interest. Anticipating this, the Torah's definition of justice reveals an uncompromising requirement of absolute balance between wrongs and redress, but first it warns me not to confuse justice with emotion." (goes on to quote Deut 19:21)

"Humanity's violence has caused people of all religions to curse God from time to time for refusing to remove evil from the earth. Yet we object to floods."

"Having demonstrated what would happen if he enforced strict justice on the earth, God now takes the next step. He voluntarily enters into a covenant with humanity and seals it with a promise not to impose perfect justice on earth, but to find another path."

"Tragedy is the fertile soil of miracles. I cannot recall a single miracle in the Torah that does not involve affliction. . . It seems the way to deal with the evil of the world is not to pretend to go around it, but to plunge right through."

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