The Law: The Abuse of the Law
In this season of Easter, we are touched by themes of life and, resurrection, the transforming encounter with the risen Christ that can draw our spiritual life so close to God. God always has ways to reach us and draw us fully into a loving relationship. In fact, the Bible has sometimes been called a record of reproducible religious experiences that are available to us. We’re looking this month at the book of Leviticus, a seldom read book part of Bible, filled with laws, rules and some obscure practices that seem distant from our faith today. In reality, the law given to the Israelites was God’s way to create a holy and faithful people. Leviticus talks at length about ways to draw near to God, which is ultimately what we all want. The themes in this complex book strike at the heart of faith. For instance, all of us live with important rules, which make our common life possible. Some of us love having the structure of rules and clear boundaries of what we can and cannot do. Yet sometimes the rules and the rituals have a way of taking over religion or becoming the focal point of faith. The difficulty happens when this stifles the work of the Spirit. As an example, Leviticus focuses on proper worship, through an extensive practice of animal sacrifice. We obviously don’t participate in such practices today, but creating worship that brings us into the presence of God is vital to a living faith. We worship each week to respond to God’s invitation to a loving relationship and to honor our hunger for the holy. In ancient Israel, when the system of sacrifice became a refined, sophisticated and large-scale practice, God became angry at the neglect of the poor or the return to idolatry. God sent prophets to correct and critique, helping the nation to again remember what God wants most. God always sends a voice that invites us to return. This Sunday we worship the God of our past, our present, and our future, who wants a loving relationship so that faith is evident in our worship and our daily lives.
Dave Summers, PhD
602-840-8360 Ext 131
“We invite you to join us on a shared journey of life and faith, open to all, regardless of age, ability, economics, color, race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, politics, theology or anything else that might separate us from each other. Whoever you are and wherever you may be on your spiritual journey, you’re invited to walk with Christ in community with all of God’s children, and embrace the endless possibilities of God’s unconditional love.”