Day: February 24, 2010

Lenten meditation: Remembering the Journey

This is the meditation I am sharing tonight for our community Lenten service.

Deuteronomy 26:1-11

1 When you have entered the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance and have taken possession of it and settled in it, 2 take some of the firstfruits of all that you produce from the soil of the land the LORD your God is giving you and put them in a basket.

Then go to the place the LORD your God will choose as a dwelling for his Name 3 and say to the priest in office at the time, “I declare today to the LORD your God that I have come to the land the LORD swore to our forefathers to give us.” 4 The priest shall take the basket from your hands and set it down in front of the altar of the LORD your God.

5 Then you shall declare before the LORD your God: “My father was a wandering Aramean, and he went down into Egypt with a few people and lived there and became a great nation, powerful and numerous. 6 But the Egyptians mistreated us and made us suffer, putting us to hard labor. 7 Then we cried out to the LORD, the God of our fathers, and the LORD heard our voice and saw our misery, toil and oppression.

8 So the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great terror and with miraculous signs and wonders. 9 He brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey;

10and now I bring the firstfruits of the soil that you, O LORD, have given me.” Place the basket before the LORD your God and bow down before him. 11 And you and the Levites and the aliens among you shall rejoice in all the good things the LORD your God has given to you and your household.

God brings us down.

Jewish life is full of storytelling.  The Passover is the most well-known example, when the youngest child asks the question, “Why is this night different from all others?” Then, among other things, the story of the exodus from Egypt is told, very much like this telling we have just read.  But our passage tonight covers a lot of territory.

First, “My father was a wandering Aramean” probably refers to Abraham to connect the storyteller with the ancestry of all Jews.  Aram and Chaldea were closely connected, although we don’t have time to go into that here.  But this is probably an attempt to Continue reading “Lenten meditation: Remembering the Journey”