Recite the Primo Credo Today in the Morning and in the Evening:
Hear, O Israel:
the Lord our God, the Lord is one;
you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.
The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these.
Today, on the Fourth Day of Lent, we continue to discuss the Primo Credo, the part of the Scripture that Jesus himself told us was the bedrock of our entire belief system. In fact, He said it was so important that “all the law hangs on” it. Since Jesus is the “fulfillment of the law,” then it makes sense for us to pay close attention to this thing that He informed us was at the very foundation of Truth.
At the very beginning of our journey together, on day two, we discussed that we will be meditating on it over the period leading up to Resurrection (Easter) Sunday; and we talked about reciting it every morning and every evening.
Just a reminder here… we talked about the practice of ‘fasting’ and how this exercise is to promote in a a kind of ‘spiritual intentionality’ that will move us away from spiritual sloppiness and provide us with a more disciplined approach to learning about and knowing God. We remember that the mere recitation of any set of words cannot gain us a single inch of territory in God’s Kingdom.
We do believe, though, that focusing on the Word of God intentionally, with great thought and care, rather than practicing hollow repetition, places us in a position of surrender to the Living Word of God, Christ Jesus. Our goal is to let The Word work in us, and hopefully through us, and back out of us.As I mentioned in my earlier post, Lent is the period of forty days before Easter Our goal is that we use this time together to be formed and to grow into more spiritually mature people. Our goal is for us to learn together new ways of following Jesus and to discover the difference that following Him makes.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly
as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom,
and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs
with gratitude in your hearts to God.
BODY is the second main word of the Primo Credo. Don’t see it? You’re not alone, but allow me some theological and literary latitude, here. I will explain…
You’ve probably already assessed that the second main word here is “Israel,” and you are absolutely correct. But lest we get confused thinking that “Israel” here really means a country or even a historical group of people- I’d like to suggest a different way of looking at it. “Israel” is a BODY of people that transcends time and place. It is the BODY of people who follow God obediently through the "desert" in order to be vessels declaring His great Good News, and vassals who serve and praise Him and serve and encourage others in His Kingdom. You and I are Israel if we follow Christ.
But because nomenclature often gets confusing, we will simplify things a little today and discuss the command of the Primo Credo in terms of BODY.
The command (credo/creed) was given to a group of people. It was intended to be recited individually, yet as a community- communally…corporately. It was therefore not intended to be mere words that penetrated individuals; it was intended to take a shape of its own (as the Word of God invariably does…). It was intended to shape the heart of a Nation.
The Apostle Peter reflects this in his writing to members of the Early Church Body when he writes:
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people belonging to God,that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light… (1 Peter 2:9)
No doubt, Peter was quoting from the early Hebrew Scriptures, most likely from Exodus 19:6, where God declares to the Israelites, “you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”
If you are “In Christ,” you are part of the BODY of Christ and a citizen of a HOLY NATION…a priest, even!
So what does that mean? I think it means we are BLESSED to be included in the Nation of God's People- I means that's one great 'club' to be a member of, right? But that’s not the end of the story…
We’re not blessed as an end in itself- we’re blessed by God TO BE A BLESSING TO OTHERS. Look again above at the verse from 1 Peter. It says: “that you may declare the praises of Him.” Now look at how nicely that verse dovetails with Colossians 3:16. We are to declare, teach, admonish, sing God’s praises, worship and sing hymns to The One who has called us out of darkness.
A People who do that simply cannot be ignored. People that act like that RADIATE and SHINE! When we, as a body, become “bearers of the Light,” we can do nothing other than bless the world. And that is God’s plan and desire for us… that we allow Him to work through us to be conduits of salvation and reconciliation in this broken world.
Our identity is Israel, or The Body of Christ. In Isaiah 58, God told the Israelites that he was not pleased with their fast, that He was not impressed with their ability to discipline their bodies because He wanted a different kind of “fast” from them. He wanted them to be a corporate community, obedient to the stirrings of The Spirit, with a shared vision and a heart for justice and mercy in the world. He wanted the People of Israel (read: Body of Christ) to stop focusing on their individual “holier-than-thou-ness” and to start nurturing a communal “righteousness” that would end up Shining Brightly in the World in such a way that the world would be transformed by it.
Watch the video below and listen to the lyrics of the song:
So, to sum it all up: we “give up” and we “take up” during Lent solely to be formed into the likeness of Christ, so that we can glorify God by becoming His vessels and vassals to a broken world. But we cannot do it alone, we must do it as part of the Body of Christ.
So, this Fourth Day of Lent, continue to let God do His Good Work in you, as He forms and transforms you further into His likeness. P.S. : Shine!
SHINE WE THIS DAY
Obey We the Father,
Obey We Son,
Obey We the Spirit,
Obey We the Three in One.
God, and Spirit, and Jesus,
Help us to Dispel Darkness...
Help us to Shine Your Light…
Bless Our Hearts,
Bless Our Souls,
Bless Our Minds,
That We Would Bless The World
With All Our Might.
©Tracy B. Dickerson, 2010