Bible blog 1049

This blog ofers a reflection on the Common Lectionary daily readings along with a headline from world news:

290 civilians (including 60 children)  have been killed by USA drones 

Appropriately named Hellfire missile

Appropriately named Hellfire missile

DEUTERONOMY6: 1-9

The Great Commandment

6 Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the ordinances—that the Lord your God charged me to teach you to observe in the land that you are about to cross into and occupy, 2 so that you and your children and your children’s children may fear the Lord your God all the days of your life, and keep all his decrees and his commandments that I am commanding you, so that your days may be long. 3 Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe them diligently, so that it may go well with you, and so that you may multiply greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has promised you.

4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.[a] 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. 6 Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. 7 Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. 8 Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem[b] on your forehead, 9 and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

For more than two thousand years this commandment (The Shema) was treasured by faithful Jews wherever they were. Indeed, its power was especially evident when the reward for keeping it had been removed from them, or they from it: Eretz Yisrael, the land of Israel, from which they were exiled to Babylon in 586 BCE  and from which they were expelled after 135 CE by the Romans. It was recited by Jewish scholars in medieval Spain, by well-protected Jews in the 17th Italian banks and by half-naked ,half-starved Jews in the Nazi death camps. It is the heart of Judaism not least because it carried with it a practice which can be stubbornly continued even when the heart and head have ceased to believe: keep these words… recite them to your children…bind them on your hand, fix them…on your forehead and the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

God is the one and only, the single source of life and goodness. You shall love the Lord your God with your whole being. Before your dearest, before your neighbour, before your nation, before yourself. For if you do not love God you shall not know how to love your dearest, your neighbour, your nation, yourself.

Such a God is utterly beyond you but palpable: he has given your your life, your land, your livelihood -the land flowing with milk and honey-which will be yours as long as you love the giver. When you cease to do so, when you worship idols, when you desecrate the Sabbath, when you stop caring for the widow and the orphan as God has commanded, then you will experience the curse of evil. Shema

The scriptures bear witness to Israel living under the curse yet with the assurance that the covenant can be renewed at any time; the people can always re-turn to God whose goodness will always be available to them.

This passionate faith belongs to Judaism, though no longer to Israel, which, like many other nations, worships itself and ruthlessly imposes its power on its neighbours as if its religion did not exist. Christian believers place their trust in Jesus Messiah who loved God according to the great commandment and urged his disciples to do so. On this day, the Feast of Trinity, as the world church worships the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, it should also proclaim, “the Lord our God, the Lord is One God.” praying that all nations including Israel may honour this truth and the blessings which flow from keeping it.

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