Reading: Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18
The book of Leviticus gets a bad rap for its tedious outlining of God's law. It is the rare legalist who dives enthusiastically into these twenty-seven chapters of religious rules and codes.
But if you read Leviticus 19 for today, you may be surprised to find some familiar words. "Revere your mother and father. Keep my sabbaths. Do not turn to idols or make cast images for yourselves. You shall not steal. You shall not swear falsely in my name." Recognize these statements from the Ten Commandments?
In this chapter and throughout Leviticus, God interprets and elaborates upon the basic commandments, so that the people understand how to incorporate those laws into their lives. "You shall not steal. Not only should you not take what belongs to someone else, but also you should not defraud others and you should not be slow to pay your employees." The Ten Commandments may be straightforward, but applying them to our lives is less so.
It's all well and good, for example, to say "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" but what exactly does that action look like in daily life? How do you love your next-door neighbor and how do you love a stranger? How do you love the parent or sibling with whom you've been feuding? How do you love the persons living in places where our country has dropped bombs? "Love" is simple enough to say, but like all of God's laws, so much more challenging to live. -- Rachel Hackenberg, United Church of Christ minister and former CML Summer Staff
Closing Prayer: Teach us, O God -- and reteach us as often as needed -- how to live according to your laws, how to bring your commandments to life through our words and actions each day. Amen.
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