Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Thought

“Now all the people gathered together as one in the open square that was in front of the water gate, and they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded Moses.  So Ezra brought the Law before the assembly of men and women … then he read from it in the open square … and the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law”  (Nehemiah 8:1-3).

As with yesterday’s thought about “law”, this reading must also be understood more carefully than to think Ezra simply read off a list of “rules”.  In this context the people of the Lord had returned to reclaim the land the Lord had given them after a long exile.  They were determined to reorient themselves toward what they were brought out of Egypt to be: a “priestly nation”.  They were more determined to learn from their mistakes of the past and truly be The Lord’s People.  The “Torah” (which English translations may have carelessly reduced to ‘law’) is “the written and cherished normative memory of the community” (Brueggemann).

Yes, there are some “rules” to live by as well as some restrictions and prohibitions.  The fullness of a people’s identity, however, goes far beyond what they are prohibited from doing; it is much more about what they are to do in the fullness of life – to be everything The Lord has created them to be.

This reality has not been diminished in the New Testament or Christian theology.  Jesus was clear in that He did not come to “do away with the Law (Torah?) … but to fulfill it”.  So must we as lean into and live in the fullness of The Word which is Christ.



No comments: