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Monday, September 20, 2010

Day Twenty (Disability)

Another frustrating gem from Leviticus, this time 21:16-24 wherein "YHWH said to Moses, 'Say to Aaron: "For the generations to come none of your descendants who has a defect may come near to offer the food of his God. No man who has any defect may come near: no man who is blind or lame . . . no man with a crippled foot of hand . . . because of his defect, he must not go near the curtain or approach the altar, and so desecrate my sanctuary. I am YHWH, who makes them holy." ' " The uber hearsay notwithstanding, I knew a man against whom this scripture was asserted. He walked with a cane because he had suffered from polio as a child. Some among the most wicked group of people I've ever known (a church where Dad served for seven years) said because of this scripture the man could not serve as Elder. Dad disagreed. Good for Dad.

A pleasant surprise in Mark though. From 9:40, the disciples were upset that people outside their group were healing in Jesus' name. Jesus tells the disciples to leave them alone, noting "for whoever is not against us is for us." I much prefer this formulation.

Finally, advice from Proverbs I rarely heed: When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise. In other words, better to remain silent and let people think you're a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. ;)

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Deuteronomy 23:1 cranks it up even more, dragging injuries to sexual organs into the scene, blocking access to "the assembly of the LORD." However, Isaiah (56:3-8) took this exclusion on directly, with a word from God opening up access to God's "house," and even "holy mountain," culminating with the verse Jesus used when he cleaned up the Temple: "my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples." That is: ALL people. What Jesus was doing (Mark 11:15-17) was announcing that the days of exclusion were now at an end. Thus, the Ethiopian eunuch had gone to Jerusalem "to worship" (Acts 8:27) -- something which a moment's inquiry would discover was flatly impossible, overruled, and not a snowball's chance. By which I take Luke to mean: new ballgame, folks. The Spirit of the risen Lord is pushing the community of faith into new territory, both physically and spiritually. All of which is to say, in Jesus, God gave the Quality-Control freaks in churches their reassignment.
Or so it seems to me.

JimII said...

"Quality-Control freaks"

Awesome turn of phrase.

JimII said...

Another note on Anon's comment, it suggests a stronger break from Hebrew Tradition than many in my church are comfortable with. I'm not sure where that comes from, but I know many are uncomfortable making a clean break between "Old" and "New" covenant. I suspect there are dangers that I do not perceive.

Matt Dick said...

...it suggests a stronger break from Hebrew Tradition ...

Jesus was nothing if not a major reformer. He worshiped with eunuchs, befriended whores, drank from holy vessels and only a few times advocated the whole sale slaughter of people who didn't worship him.

I don't know how the Old covenant can hold up at all.

terio

Anonymous said...

Actually, Jesus was trying to push the Jewish Law to its limit, in order to recapture its original intent, which was to create in Israel God's ideal for human society, as a role model (exhibit A)for the rest of humanity. The obsessive rules & regs may be a product of the layering of what Christians call the Old Testament, having passed through many editorial hands, each tweaking, adding, subtracting, with reference to their current situation. All in the deepest of faithfulness to their inherited Judaism, let me be quick to add. It is only with the Enlightenment that we got fussy over original authorship.
So Jesus was trying to reach back to God's original intent, reaching past the legalists who stopped at the end of the rules & regs. All of which is to say that Jesus embodied God's love for human people -- flawed people -- who needed guidelines in order to live together in peace & harmony. And justice. In short, God can use rules, but rules are not God.
Bob Howard, who must register as Anonymous because of lost password (sigh).

JimII said...

I expect as I read on, I will come across others who called Israel back, Isaiah, and others who broke the rules for the greater good, David, in which case, it make more sense to see Jesus on the continuum.

I have sympathy for the position that Jesus' was "completing" the Old Testament law in the same way Gorbachev was "completing" the bolshevik revolution.