Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16

Lent 2 - Year B

Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16

I'm intrigued with the difference in tone between the English translations of verse 1c.

"I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless." (NRSV)

"I am The Strong God, live entirely before me, live to the hilt!" (The Message)

In the first case we are to be blameless, either as a result of walking before God who's got an eye on you and so the result will be blameless living, straight-and-narrow living, or simply being in the presence of God will be transformative and blamelessness becomes ingrained and you automatically get your wings.

In the second we are to live life to the hilt. Martin Luther's dictum to "sin boldly" might fit here. Also applicable is John Wesley's, "go on to perfection" (where perfection is not a static perfected-ness, but a dynamic holistic, integrated living). Basically we are mates of Wonderful Life Clarence, Angel Second-class, still working in the messes of life and adding our own.

The one thing this covenant is missing is that of being blessed to be a blessing, from the covenant in Chapter 12. That wider view has here been limited to simple biology of passing on a gene pool that will have authorities in it (huzzah). Oh, yes, there is also the matter of getting circumcision and land along with the covenant. (Read the elided material.)

What has changed the dynamic of blessing to be a blessing, living life to the hilt, into a property transaction, a being blameless? To investigate this change will be helpful Lenten reflection material and also give some insight into the greed (at all levels leading to our current economic mess) that desires more and more while claiming we are uniquely blameless and so are entitled, covenantally, to get more and more.

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