It took a year to read the Bible, then almost 9 months to read the Apocrypha. Now, I'm going to try to offer reflections on the Narrative Lectionary. But, I won't be posting daily--at least, for a while.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Before and After, a Reflection on Exodus 20:7-9, 12-20

"Then God spoke, 'I am the Lord your God....You shall have no other gods before me.'" begins the passage we call the Ten Commandments. In his book of prayers, Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth, Walter Brueggememann helps us to articulate our recognition of who God is and who we are.

Look particularly at We are second and you are first that begins:
Before our well-being, there was your graciousness,
before our delight, there was your generosity,
before our joy, there was your good will.

Quote from Allen & Williamson's Preaching from the Old Testament:
Eight of the ten words begin: "you shall not." People often speak of negative commandments as off-putting "do nots" that constrict life....But that misconstrues the negative instructions in the Torah. First, we can keep all of them while taking a nap. ...Second, negative mitzvoth deal with the parameters of behavior. They do not specify what we should do, simply what we should not do. They name the actions that cancel all possibility of living with others a life of well-being (which can only be lived with others.)

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