In his column this morning David Brooks wrote about Arthur Brooks. (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/21/opinion/brooks-capitalism-for-the-masses.html?ref=opinion&_r=0) A. Brooks is now a social scientist and president of the American Enterprise Institute. D. Brooks hooked me with … ardent defenders of the free enterprise system … primarily … on moral terms.
Sunday’s Gospel is the end of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount; the reading from Leviticus might easily be the moral base for economics. Both are examples of leaders trying to get the people back to the basis of their relationships with each other as God defines it. It is hard for us to hear, because English isn’t always clear about singular and plural forms of pronouns, and living in post reformation times, we are heavily tilted to individual salvation. Leviticus, Jesus and Mathew are speaking directly to our community responsibility to the community without regard to any individual’s standing what so ever.
I find it perplexing that many legislators seem to be so ardent about following Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 20:13 and so completely ignoring Leviticus 19 (and other inconvenient bit like Leviticus 11:ff which prohibits eating shrimp, oysters etc.). At the same time I understand because I also ignore some verses, and focus on others. And I do not think getting into verse throwing opposing monologues is helpful either. What I believe Sunday’s lessons call us to do is let go of details long enough to rediscover the fundamentals of human relationship and divine relationship which for me begins in Genesis 1:27 And God created אָדָם (adam) in God’s image; in the image of God God prepared אָדָם male and female God prepared them. All of us are made in the image of God, all of us reflect the image of God, Paul goes far to say all of us are temples, homes, for the Spirit of God. All relationships begin here. All the rules are, or should, help us live into the fullness of our being. I long for the day when we need less because we are all more.