At our recent staff meeting Anna Parkinson had the devotions for the day. Anna mentioned that she had been thinking about Leviticus lately. Several of us laughed. Leviticus is not a particularly enthralling book of the Old Testament and is known for its detailed rules and regulations. Anna laughed too and then said she was serious. She had been thinking about all of the rules in Leviticus that protected the health of the greater community, and she said she had been developing a new appreciation for those rules. Leviticus is full of such rules and regulations that protected the people’s health. Here’s an example:
The writer of Leviticus begins by saying that if a home owner discovers there is a disease in the house… “the owner of the house shall come and tell the priest, saying, “There seems to me to be some sort of disease in my house.” The priest shall command that they empty the house before the priest goes to examine the disease, or all that is in the house will become unclean; and afterward the priest shall go in to inspect the house. He shall examine the disease; if the disease is in the walls of the house with greenish or reddish spots, and if it appears to be deeper than the surface, the priest shall go outside to the door of the house and shut up the house seven days.” (Lev. 14: 35 – 38) This is just the beginning of what may happen to the house and the people who live inside. The passage goes on to detail several stages one must go through to rid the house of the disease, and if all else fails the house has to be torn down and the building materials taken outside the camp and put in a dump for unclean things. The people also have steps to go through in order to be made clean.
I agree with Anna in having a new appreciation for rules that protect a community. God was very clear with the children of Israel that everyone was part of the community and no one person was an entity unto themselves. They lived together, worked together and were responsible to one another and for one another. The rules God set in place protected everyone because each life was of value to God.
How weary we are of rules these days: masks, social distance, no large gatherings. Bear in mind when we practice these precautions, we are living in accordance with the values set out for us by God in ancient days. Each life is of value. We are intended to live in community. We are responsible to one another and for one another.
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