Sunday, January 25, 2009

Lectio on an unusual verse which may be useful to us in our community-making

Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of sapphire, clear as the sky itself. But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank. (Exodus 25:9-11)
Lectio. Seventy. They saw God, and they ate and drank.

Meditatio. I came across this passage earlier this week while reading The Cure of Cain by Ragina Shwartz, and I had to grab a bible to make sure she wasn’t making it up (though I’m sure I’ve read it before because I’ve read Exodus). The Cure of Cain is a book on the violence inherent in “monotheistic” identity formation; in it Shwartz offers this passage from Exodus as an alternative to exclusivist versions of collective identity formation in which “the cutting covenant has cut people off, from one another and from their God.” Though I wouldn’t necessarily agree with Schwartz’s definition of “monotheism” (the book is challenging), I am grateful that she has highlighted this passage and grateful for her commentary on it: “‘[T]hey gazed on God, they ate, and they drank’—three words that offer no hint of the violence of the covenant curses, but are prefaced instead by the explicit rejection of violence. Exodus tells us that just looking on God should be fatal—‘no man can see the face of God and live’—but the story says ‘He laid no hand on these notables of the sons on Israel: they gazed on God.’” I am grateful, moreover, for God’s gracious fellowship with us.

Oratio. God, to see you, not alone, but in a community of earth’s people: We want to eat and drink—on mountain tops and in our daily walks—in peace and communion with you and with each other.



RC said...

Paul, this is a beautiful posting. I want this, too. Thank you for sharing and encouraging us!

Daniel said...

Very insightful. Thanks Paul!

Matt Addis said...

Great reflection Paul. Thanks for sharing.

John Orzechowski said...

Paul, this is a very interesting passage. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it.

living stones said...

Paul, This reading made me think of the sacrament of communion. The mystery of receiving his presence--his grace. Thanks for sharing. Blessings, Anna

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