It’s still a slog, and I’m in Deuteronomy, the Second Law Book, and things aren’t getting any happier as I trace the steps of the Israelites as they seek to follow Scary God into Canaan.
(As a reminder, I, the fundamentalist with Mad Bible Skills, have started re-reading the Bible, from Gen. 1, using a guide I loaded onto my phone. Obviously, people read the Bible and find different things. Here’s what I found last week:)
But I came across this one verse, the last part of Deut. 15:11 (Revised Standard Version): “Open your hand to the poor and needy neighbor in your land.”
Finally, Something that feels familiar. The lessons I’ve held onto from my fundamentalist background were lessons about Jesus’ commands and examples to pay attention to people who struggle, that we can lift both them and ourselves by giving them a hand. The same law is mirrored in the one Christian scripture verse that serves as my theology, James 1:27:
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
Obviously, there’s more to the law in regard to Christians, but the rest of us seems pretty self-explanatory, and this is the part I like best. It’s simple. It’s easy to commit to member. It would serve as a great political platform, because it’s rooted in love. I’m not rooted in love, but I like the idea of it, I like the vision of a world rooted in love, and this verse, to me, encompasses all of that. So Deut. 15:11 was like this oasis of light in what (again, for me) has been a pretty dark series of commandments followed by threats of smiting.
As I type this, I can hear church bells off in the distance. Onward.