Monday of the First Week of Lent
The readings for the day can be found here.
What are the “laws” that guide your life? Traffic laws, residence hall rules, parents’ expectations—they are truly all around us! Though most laws serve a greater purpose of safety and communal harmony—-oftentimes they just feel like a burden to us. Our journey of faith is not without laws and expectations, either, is it? In today’s readings, we are reminded of the laws of Moses. Though Leviticus is filled with many specific laws for the Hebrew people (gulp!) —this passage in chapter 19 is simply focusing on the 10 Commandments. Frankly, these laws aren’t too difficult to abide: don’t kill, steal, or commit adultery. One of my professors once described this as “the playpen for the people”—-there is still plenty of space for us to enjoy life within these outer boundaries!
Love your neighbor. This final command sneaks in at the end—yet has the power to absolutely unravel us. When we explore the definition of “neighbor”—all of God’s people in creation—suddenly the expectations feel monumental, again, don’t they?
The gospel of Matthew is bold in the 25th chapter as it proclaims our call as Christians is to serve Christ in every ugly corner of the world. We may have perfected our knowledge of Scripture and recitation of the “rules”…yet if people are hungry, cold, ill, or abandoned in our midst we have broken the law as well.
When Jesus came into the world, the Law became Human. Though the prophets had long called for justice for the poor, widow & oppressed—Jesus would no longer accept excuses. And for all of us that felt awkward or scared at facing our neighbors in their weakest moments—Jesus even showed us how! Over and again, Jesus bandaged the sick, listened to the lonely, ate with the outcast, and gave shelter to the homeless.
During this journey of Lent—-how has God called you to Love your Neighbor in a new way? Remember— it is God’s Work, Our Hands. May the grace and mercy Jesus first poured upon us flow from souls out into the world…
Rev. Rebecca Boardman is Campus Pastor at Lutheran Campus Ministry in St. Louis.