Thursday, October 13, 2011

THE LAW: Limitation? Chaos? Freedom? What Do You See?

For some this may be a week of "heavy" scriptures. At least that's how I felt when we first read Exodus 20. That's the great and iconic scripture when God delivers the 10 Commandments to the "slaves" He has brought out of Egypt. This is the serious stuff. This is where we get our marching orders, right?

Yes. But it doesn't have to be "heavy" or restricting. In fact, perhaps it's freeing. In our Wednesday night discussion with Dr. Standiford, one attendee opined that this 10-item "to do" list freed and liberated God's people. No more multiple gods. Just one. The great I AM. And no more worrying about what's required in sacrifice. It's laid out. 10 Steps to Salvation. Done. Not easy. But simple.

The artist's interpretation (seen here, top) is also an interesting take. There are four panels dipicting acts of God, overlaid with God's word to the Israelites... But, as you'll notice, the words of the 10 commandments begin to fall apart, or become kind of chaotic, in the middle. What's that about? We'll tawk. On Sunday. You will definitely want to hear Rev. Molly's interpretation. Trust me. She nailed it.

Here's a hint: Remember that the gold lettering, or any trace of gold in the Saint John's Bible, indicates God's presence. The illumination begins with HERE I AM. I AM THE GOD OF YOUR FATHER. I AM THE LORD YOUR GOD. And it ends with similar wording. Perhaps another nod toward simplicity?

In the sanctuary, Dr. Standiford will also be discussing the second image (bottom image) of Paul as we read from Romans 3. Paul is holding a dome (St. Paul's Basillica in Rome) in his hand... and it's broken. What was broken in Paul's time? What about later in church history? What part did Paul's writings play in the great Reformation? Ahhhh. Yes, these questions will be pondered and perhaps answered on Sunday.

If you haven't yet seen the illuminations from the Saint John's Bible, please do. I'm absolutely obsessed with the interpretations. That doesn't mean I agree or even like all of them. Some I absolutely LOVE... but, most importantly, it has us talking about SCRIPTURE!!! Real dialogue about what the Bible means to each of us, individually and collectively. Exciting, promising and uplifting.

Take a listen here to the interview Tom Fudge of KPBS (his parents are members at First Church) conducted with one of the Saint John's experts in Minnesota. And thanks again to our dear Liz Cogdill for arranging another great interview.

See you Sunday!

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