Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Content and the King

In the liturgy, we're back to reading from the history of ancient Israel. Today's first reading has a rather touching dimension to it. There is a renovation project going on at the Temple. Good sign. There are the levitical priests at their job, scribes, workmen. And an old book comes to light. The priest in charge takes a look at it. It's what we call the book of Deuteronomy: the details of the covenant between God and the people. And the priest quickly realizes that one of the parties has failed to keep its end of the bargain.
When the king is given the report of the day's work, he is also given a report about the book, which is read aloud to him. And the king is struck with grief. He recognizes that while they have maintained all the structures--the kingship, the Temple, the priesthood and the rites--they had lost sight of the actual content of their relationship with God. Centuries later, Jesus would also warn his followers about paying tithes on mint and cumin but neglecting justice and mercy. And more centuries later, it is still a temptation for us to distract ourselves with pious practices to the extent that we forget to honor the Lord himself. I know this happens to me. So today I am asking for a little extra grace to focus on the goodness and graciousness of God. After all, "it is right to give him thanks and praise."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow. All I can say is wow. What an insightful reading and sharing of the meaning behind this Old Testament story. I am just beginning to read the first five books of the Old Testament with renewed appreciation after sharing in a bat mitzvah with a Jewish friend. After such a meaningful experience I am hungry to learn as much as I can. Your blog for this day is helping me to remember not to get so caught up in all the details of my study that I lose sight of the real meaning behind it all -- which is a relationship with the truly living and ever present Lord of Heaven and Earth.