We are nearing the end of this particular line of thinking, next week we will gather all of the threads we’ve been pulling on and tie them all together, hopefully creating a beautiful tapestry of transformation. I guess we’ll see.
But for today, let me tell you about Leviticus.
As you may or may not know, this book of the Bible has my attention in an unusual way. When we are confronted with a previous perception of what we accept as ‘truth,’ and it is exposed as something different – maybe not a lie, but certainly not Truth (we should probably explore this idea in greater detail another day) – this deeply disruptive inner-quake stays in the front of our thoughts for quite some time. For instance, Leviticus is super-boring, full of hard to understand rules that have nothing at all to do with our lives, here and now. Right? That’s true, isn’t it?
No. (Well, maybe a little – it is sort of boring)
The idea, to over simplify, is that the people of Israel are new. They have been chosen by God, set apart and set free to affect the world: to give the world a picture of who God is and what He’s like. But what does that mean??? What does that look like? How does one begin down such a path?
With the details.
When I start anything new, it can be overwhelming to look at the end result. If I wanted to learn to play the guitar, it’s not helpful to try to play the guitar solos from Van Halen albums, it’s much more important that I have a comfortable strap that is the right softness and width. We start with shopping for good shoes if we want to run a marathon. Or getting a nice cutting board to begin to cook. And if we want to illustrate being set apart, we might want to look at the food we are eating or the way we treat our neighbor in certain areas.
A perfect picture Rob Bell (…speaking of Rob Bell, his Leviticus teaching has been the jumping off point for much of this discussion. You understand how it works: you find an insight and follow it and it reminds you of something else that you studied or read or heard or thought that you didn’t realize was relevant and soon enough the sacrifices and food laws of Leviticus makes perfect sense in a discussion of weight and the People’s Court and hoarding and baseball gloves and the insight is priceless and you breathe and are unbelievably grateful…) uses is the question: “Do you think Lebron James knows what kind of socks he wears?” Of course he does, what a ridiculous question! He makes his living, crafts his reputation, with his body – why would he leave any of that to chance or doubt? That’s why, several years ago, when Barry Bonds was being investigated for steroids after a failed blood test, his “I don’t know what I took” defense was so offensive to everyone. It was so obviously a blatant lie because we all understand that details matter, whether we acknowledge that we understand or not.
It matters how the Temple is built, what animals are used in sacrifices, and what we do with our time. It matters, because everything matters.
How you do anything is how you do everything, which is why mindfulness, weight, priority, value, socks and cutting boards are so important.