This morning’s reading is from Leviticus. the Book of Laws. In fact, 27 chapters of laws.
That’s a lot of laws!
And I pondered how often one or two laws from that book get pulled out and emphasized to the exclusion of all others.
That’s often what we do with religion: we scrape off the piece we want and leave the rest behind.
For example, throughout Leviticus, the injunction to “fear God” arises. People say it a lot, but I always wonder what that means. “Fear God” because of possible punishment? Possible destruction? Why would I want to follow a God who promised destruction and punishment?
Perhaps, I though, my idea of fear was misplaced. Perhaps it meant something. These Leviticus laws were written thousands of years ago, perhaps as many as 5 or 6 thousand. So I looked up the word “fear” in my trusty American Heritage Dictionary which led me to the Indo-European root per (Indo-European being the earliest root of many languages).
Per, as you might imagine after all these centuries, has a developed into many words, but at base were movement words, including to walk all the way around as if you were walking around a mountain. I like the idea that “fear God” means to walk around God, to look at God from many angles and many different sides. To see the Holy from many different perspectives.
If we really saw the holy from many different directions, it might be hard to judge others for their behavior.
Today, practice looking at others’ behaviors from many different angles. Today, notice where an automatic judgment arises.
Is it difficult to substitute looking for judging?