Saturday, February 28, 2009

1 March 2009: 1st Sunday in Lent

Deuteronomy 21:22-22:30

The Tanach for today has a set of laws some of which apply to us, and some of which apply in principle.

The first is a man hung on a tree is not to be there past sunset because he is cursed. We note in passing, Jesus was cut down from the cross before sunset.

The next is the law of return, and it applies to us even today. If we find our neighbours animal straying, or something belonging to our neighbour, we are to return it to them. This is not always easy to do, but something we strive to do if possible. God will bless us for it.

The next is pretty obvious, no tranvestites. Now some people have held this law to mean woman should not wear pants, but the vagaries of fashion are ever changing and vary from culture to culture. The purpose is not that a woman should not wear pants, nor that a man should not wear a kilt, but that a man should dress as a man and a woman as a woman. God wants no confusion about the sexes.

Maybe some of our game laws derive from the next one, but it is emminently practicle. If we take the eggs, we leave the mother so she can lay more eggs. If this law and the principel behind it were applied everywhere, (and here I am thinking of Central America where a favourite way to eat iguana is stuffed with its own eggs, and iguanas are harder and harder to find) food might not be such a great problem.

The next is common sense. If we build a house with a roof which you can walk up to, it needs a wall. In other words we build things safely.

Ox and donkey ploughing together, but combined with the next, we are not to mix differetn kinds. The same with two different kinds of seed. The tassles were on the outer clothing, and included one blue thread to remind us that we are set apart and are to be holy for the Lord.

The next adresses divorce. We note that while Moses permitted divorce, Jesus told them the permission was because of hard hardedness. The instant adressed here is if a man falsey accused his wife of adulter or not having been a virgin. If he has accused her falsely, he can never abandon her. IF the accuasation is true, then she is to be put to death. The Bible holds marriage and chastity in high regard, standards that we need to return to. Folowing we are again reminded, the punishment for adultery is death. This is followed by practicle matters. A woman taken in the city is guilty of adulter because she didn't call for help. In the country, she may have called but no one could hear so she is innocent. Lastly we are told that if a man has relations with a woman they are to be married, and can never be divorced. Lastly the first of several incest laws, a man is not to marry his father's wife, for that would dishonour his father.

Some of these rules are practical for today, and all have implications for us today. As mentioned above, God is very serious about marriage and sex. It is time for us to return to being serious about it to. One reason God is so concerned about this, is because marriage is an icon of the relationship between God and his people This is repeated over and over in the prophets, God is the faithful husband, Israel is the bride, and in the New Testament, Christ is the bridegroom, the church is the bride. God insists on fidelity in marriage because it demonstrates his faithfulness to his people, and he wants the people to be faithful to him.

I note in passing that the teenage pregnancy rate is growing, and of course it is well known the results that single motherhood had on children. Someone stated on an interview, that abstinance was not very practicle, and that by having a baby she was being forced to be an adult. I find it interesting, that when I was in high school, birth control was not readily available, but we had very few pregnancies. It is sad to day that most kids today do not want to take the repsonsability of waitning to have sex. This is sad in many ways, firstly becasue, the icon of marriage being a relationship of God and his people is rapidly disappearing. It is sasd becaue numerous studies indicate that two virgins have the highest success rate in marriage and the lowest divorce rate. It is sad because the greatest thing one can bring to their marraige parner is their virginity.

Now, sex is important. After all, God made us as sexual beings, but he also established rules for that sexuality. As we ignore those rules, we set the seeds of the destruction of our society.

Mar Michael Abportus

No comments: