Monday, July 28, 2014

Rotten Loincloths

So this might be a PG-13 post...

If you don't normally check out the daily lectionary readings, I highly recommend you read today's reading from Jeremiah, where God compares Israel to rotten and holey (not holy) underwear. It's not an image usually found in holy literature. The Old Testament prophets, the ones who delivered God's message to Israel, were often called to embody the message with their lives, and not just speak it with words. So Jeremiah today is told to let a loincloth rot in the desert and then show it to the people to show that they are as useless as a rotten loincloth. Jeremiah was a prophet who warned Israel what was coming if they did not repent of their ways, especially the worship of the false god Baal and the child sacrifice, by means of a burnt offering, that was a part of that worship (Jer 19:5). If they did not stop separating themselves from the Lord by these actions, then the Lord would separate himself from them.

My one thought on ancient Israel's problem: Let's not be scandalized that the ancient Jewish people would turn from the Lord and burn their children alive as an offering to false gods if we're not going to be equally scandalized that the most civilized country in the world would rip apart its children limb from fragile limb with a vacuum, as an offering at it's own altar of pleasure or convenience. Let's not condemn the atrocities of past civilizations if we're not going to fight the atrocities of our own society.

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