Reflection on Scripture
July 29, 2022
Deuteronomy 30: 11-30
The Torah, the original five books of our Old Testament end in a most curious fashion. It does not end with the triumph of the people finally entering into the Promised Land. It does not end with a fairy tale, “and they all lived happily ever after.” It does not end with the creation of the Kingdom of Israel. It ends instead on a question. Whom will you serve? Whom will you follow? This is no ending at all. Instead, it is left to us, the reader, to decide how this story will end.
The fundamental purpose of Torah (literally “teachings”) is not to tell us information about God, but to change our identity, lives, purpose, and destiny. The teachings are all about how to live. Because these teachings are about real life, they are particular and concrete, going into exquisite detail on how we should worship, raise our food, provide for each other, steward the natural world, and provide justice. These are not instructions on how to reach the highest heavens. They are instructions on how to be a human being on Earth.
Judaism, and by extension Christianity, are not fundamentally religions. They are fundamentally a choice of who or what we place at the very center of our lives. Later religions with all their trappings will grow from that choice, but at essence to follow our God is simply a choice, a leap of faith, which will redefine and redirect every other choice.
Moses understood all of this as he looked out from Mount Nebo across the breadth of the Jordan Valley to the Judean Hills beyond. He knew he did not have much time left. He needed to leave his people with the most important thing to cling to in the years and centuries ahead. I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live.
The Session has changed Fairmont’s responses to the COVID-19 risk in our community:
1. Wearing of protective masks is optional but not required at Fairmont Church. Masks are available at all entrances.
2. If you are currently experiencing flu-like symptoms, we invite you to stay home and join us online.