We get gipped with this Sunday’s first reading. We only get to hear 7 (vv.4-10) of the 29 verses of Deuteronomy 26. We miss some important parts. I cheated and had the lector read verses 1-12. They’re too good to pass up. I recommend you read the whole chapter this first week of Lent.
What’s in it?
This chapter contains core elements of the Old Testament.
- God chooses refugee nomads from modern day Aleppo to form into the Jewish people.
- These people become slaves in Egypt and then God frees them for the oppression of Egypt.
- Israel receives and accepts the commandments of the covenant.
- God makes Israel his own and fulfills his pledge of an abundance promised land, God makes sharing and inclusion within the community of those on the margins as part of what he expects of his people..
Very simplistic. Read the whole chapter to get the details and nuances and conditions.
Thoughts & Questions?
So let me suggest a few points of prayer and reflection for this first week of Lent:
- What ties me down (oppresses/enslaves) this Lent from which I seek God to free me from?
- How do we deal with the current refugee crisis of 23 million worldwide who have been forced out of their own lands? (Let’s be clear: The Bible does not give us the details of immigration and refugee policy in our country and communities, but neither does it permit us to be indifferent or negative toward them or their plight. It gives us a direction: compassion, generosity and openness. It’s up to us to work out these values in practice.)
- How well do I keep the ten commandments? If I could eliminate one which one would it be? What am I doing to do better with that one? How well do I keep the commandments of the new covenant: loving God & loving my neighbor?
- What’s my promised land? If I could cut Israel’s deal with God – keeping the commandments and getting the promised land – what would be “my promised land” for keeping my Lenten practices this year? What would I ask for? (My immediate answer is “a private jet.” Yeah, I know I need to rethink that – but permit me periodic “flights of fancy.”)