So… my illustration has the gerund caring because I love its sense of ongoing care that never quits.
Deuteronomy 30:14 "The word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you can do it."God gave Moses' people Ten Words or Commandments amidst their tedious trek to the place God first promised Abraham. I can hear God's nascent nation Israel joyfully announcing, "We will do all the words God has spoken!" To do the words of the commands means to claim humanity's created in God's image identity of love, mercy, and justice for our neighbors. With its constant concern for caring action on the other's behalf, Deuteronomy (that together with Exodus records the actual decalogue or ten words) later on includes the statement I illustrated and that the Apostle Paul famously quotes in Romans 10:8.
Better translation: "The word is very near you in your mouth and in your heart—and you will do it!" Deuteronomy 30:14
"You will do it" carries a double meaning of charge and promise; no serious worries because the Spirit of Life will be there with you and for you.
The word is very near you in your mouth and in your heart—and you will do it!
We will do the word because that word of life is so close to us. You may know heart in Hebrew biology is where will, intention, and determination dwell. Our hearts also carry emotion and creativity, but more than anything if it starts in our hearts, it will end in our interactions.
This weekend on my Lectionary Project blog where I write each week about one of the scripture readings, I'll reflect on James' epistle. I hadn't been very familiar with the book, but as I read and studied, it became clear the entire letter is about the relationships of individuals in community and the community's call to care for each member. It's mutual and it's reciprocal. James the author (who probably wasn't Jesus' disciple James Zebedee, who may have been Jesus' brother James, or a different James/Jacob may have written it) describes people who rock divine holiness in their common life and in their individual lives because like Jesus, they embody love, justice, mercy, and caring.
The COVID19 pandemic continues worldwide; at least half the world has no access to vaccines yet. How about those of us who have no medical or other contraindication to getting jabbed? Have we cared enough for each other and cared sufficiently for our own well-being to get that shot? Granted some face masks are less comfortable than others, and even N95 masks don't create a perfect barrier, but every type helps protect both parties. So are you continuing to mask? Doing the word of life means taking care of each other.
What else about James? His call to pray in almost every setting and situation!