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Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Today’s Reading | Deuteronomy 6:16–25
Do not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah. You must diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and his decrees, and his statutes that he has commanded you. Do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord, so that it may go well with you, and so that you may go in and occupy the good land that the Lord swore to your ancestors to give you, thrusting out all your enemies from before you, as the Lord has promised.
When your children ask you in time to come, “What is the meaning of the decrees and the statutes and the ordinances that the Lord our God has commanded you?” then you shall say to your children, “We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. The Lord displayed before our eyes great and awesome signs and wonders against Egypt, against Pharaoh and all his household. He brought us out from there in order to bring us in, to give us the land that he promised on oath to our ancestors. Then the Lord commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our lasting good, so as to keep us alive, as is now the case. If we diligently observe this entire commandment before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us, we will be in the right.” (NRSV)
When I was a child, my extended family would gather each Sunday over at my grandparents’ house for lunch. I have many memories from that table—the roast and Yorkshire pudding, the laughter, my uncle’s pranks—but the most vivid memories are the ones that included story-telling. My family loved to share stories with one another, and it was through that sharing that I gained the strongest sense of what my family valued.
Our text from Deuteronomy challenges the newly formed Israelites to pass along what they have been taught to their children. It challenges them not just to state what they value, but to tell the story of why they value it. There is something deep and meaningful in sharing stories with one another—a tradition that Jesus knew full well in his usage of parables. Many of us may have memorized the Golden Rule—love the Lord your God, and love your neighbor as yourself—but it was stories like the Good Samaritan that brought this rule to life.
We too are challenged by this passage to share what we believe, not just in creeds and formulas, but from the times in our lives when God’s Word was particularly life-giving. If we are to pass along our faith, that faith needs to be embedded in our narratives. We need to share those meaningful stories and allow their contained values to come to life.
Dear God, I am grateful for all of the ways that your Word has touched my life. Help me to share stories from my own experiences so that my life might speak to what you truly value. Amen.
Written by Matt Helms, Minister for Children and Families
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