Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Lent Day Seven: LORD

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.
~Mark 12:29-31

Today, on the Seventh Day of Lent, we continue to discuss the Primo Credo, a variation of the Hebrew Shema Yisrael 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.”

And so, since Jesus is the “fulfillment of the law,” then we are going to spend some time understanding these few short lines in the hope that we will know The Truth more intimately.

We have been meditating on it now for six days (today is the seventh day) and will continue to do so until Resurrection (Easter) Sunday.

We have been reciting it every morning and every evening, as faithful Followers of YHWH have been doing for thousands of years.

I have mentioned this from day one, and it bears repeating… As we recite the Primo Credo, we must keep in mind that the mere recitation of any set of words cannot gain us a single inch of territory in The Kingdom of God. 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 dwell in us- informing our thoughts, feelings and actions; work in us, forming us spiritually to be more like Him; and working through us, to transform the world. Our goal is for us to learn together new ways of following Jesus and to discover the difference that following Him makes, not only within us...but to a world in desperate need of Him.

Today’s Verse~

Colossians 1:15-2015

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.


The SHEMA in Hebrew:
שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ יְהוָה אֶחָד
Shema Yisrael YHWH Eloheinu YHWH Echad
Hear, Israel Yahweh our God Yahweh is One.

Yesterday, we discussed that YHWH is the third and fifth word of the Primo Credo. You can read it above. (Remember Hebrew is read from right to left.) The four letters (י-ה-ו-ה) are called the ‘Tetragammaton’ and are usually transliterated from Hebrew as IHVH in Latin, and YHWH in English. This is where we derive the name ‘Yahweh’ or ‘Jehovah.’ The Hebrew scripture limits the writing of the name of God to these four letters out of respect for the name of God, and as an act of literal obedience to the third commandment: “Do not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.” (Exodus 20:7)

We learned that Rabbinic Judaism teaches that because the Tetragammaton, the (י-ה-ו-ה/YHWH), is the ineffable name of God, it should never be read aloud. Hence, in the Shema, it is traditionally replaced with the word “Adonai” ("Lord").

For this reason, the Shema is recited aloud as:

Shema Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Echad
Hear, Israel The LORD our God The LORD is One.

So yesterday we focused on the word “YHWH” and how it is an ancient name that has been spoken, revered for generations… It is not a word we use in daily conversation, and therefore may have little rue meaning in our hearts and minds.

So, today, we will be discussing the word “LORD” and what images and meanings it conjures up in our 21st century hearts and minds.

We talked yesterday about how the name YHWH denotes a “singularly all-powerful deity.” Additionally, we used the word “preeminence” as we discussed the power of the name of YHWH. In fact, we talked a lot about the “oneness of God” and tossed around some really wordy, weighty, witty and theological concepts.

But seriously…

What does “The Lord” really mean to us as individuals?

What does it mean to our daily activities of living?

Here are a few of my 'not so esoteric’ thoughts on this:

A Lord is One to whom we pledge allegiance.

A Lord is One for whom I act, live and breathe.

A Lord is One whom I serve, for whom I get up in the morning.

For some people their Lord is…

money…power…fame…success…accolades…their children…a ministry…an altruistic cause…drugs…partying…career...addiction…cigarettes…booze…heroin…busy-ness…

…or a whole host of other things (good or bad) that “run” their lives.

Your Lord is what makes your engine run.

Your Lord has the power to crush or to cherish you.

Depending on what or who your “Lord” is, you will be either its slave- slavishly giving it its due as it saps you of your very life…or you will be its beloved servant and you will flourish.

Only one LORD truly has the power to do the latter. His name is JESUS.

So today, I have two simple questions…

What did you get up for this morning?

What makes your heart sing?

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