As a Lenten practice during this season, clergy and leaders in the church from youth to elders will be sharing their devotions.
Scripture: Deuteronomy 21-23
Reflection: As a corporate attorney who reads contracts all day, I should welcome a passage that concludes with “Miscellaneous Laws” – like the ‘boilerplate’ at the end of a contract that is actually read by few, if any. But what are these Old Testament laws and how are they relevant to us? Deuteronomy 21-23 prohibits plowing with an ox and donkey yoked together and wearing wool woven with linen. It also calls for stoning a disobedient son and details taking a beautiful war captive as a wife (after shaving her head and trimming her nails). Many of these laws seem peculiar and not relevant to our modern lives, but elsewhere we get a prohibition against eating pork that would surely condemn most native North Carolinians. While God had set forth these laws in part to differentiate the people of Israel with a unique code of discipline, Christ affirmed that the laws collectively illuminated the supremacy of the commandments to love God and neighbor above all else. In practice, living into the commandments of love of God and neighbor is equally difficult and just as specific to following the original laws. But, through Christ’s entrance into this world, how great that we are called toward embodied love! May we steer away from any temptation of a pious focus on compliance merely for its sake! As you continue in this Lenten journey, may you always choose love.
Prayer: God, thank you for your Word and for delivering guidance to us even through passages that seem obscure. Open our hearts and minds to see before us a path of improved discipline that points towards love. Amen.
Author: Matt Efird, Elder class of 2023
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].