tough stuff in Leviticus, but be encouraged, God spoke it as a gift to Israel and as a gift to us. What did you see in today's readings? Here are a few meandering thoughts that I had:
While the birth of a baby is a wonderful thing.....a time of great joy and blessing.....God reminds us that despite the blessing of the moment....as wonderful as this new child is, another sinner has been born. The purefication rites were an acknowledgement that sin was all around us and even as perfect as the new baby is, he/she will grow into the skin of a sinner, just as Adam and Eve became the authors of what we know as original sin.
Note that even the poor are called to offer a thanksgiving offering at the birth of a child. We remember that in Luke 2, Joseph & Mary offered two turtledoves as their Thanksgiving offering.....a sign that Jesus was born into a poor home. God's greatest gift to the world (Jesus) came out of the birth of the perfect lamb to a poor peasant woman.
Chapter 13 is about how the Priests often served as a public health officer where infectious disease was concerned and while we know so much more today about infectious disease, these rules were intended to protect the people. Isn't it interesting to think of leprosy as a parable of sin; it starts with just a small blemish, grows slowly, but will eventually lead to numbness, decay and deformity. Sin is a serious thing and needs to be put out of the camp until it is eradicated. Leprosy, measles, smallpox and scarlet fever; along with other diseases that began with a skin rash were treated in this way.....isolation until health returns. Today, many of these diseases have nearly been eradicated in the US, but there are still 15 million people who suffer from leprosy around the world.
Hyssop is mentioned in the purification ritual. I am reminded that David said in the Psalms, "purge me with hyssop and I will be whiter than snow." And that Jesus was offered a drink while on the cross from a branch of hyssop. Hyssop is often mentioned in the Bible as a useful instrument in worship.
Hope the winter weather is only an inconvenience to you. We are hoping for a good flight home on Wednesday evening and that we will be able to get up our hill and into the driveway without significant trouble. See you Sunday. Don't forget the all-church conference scheduled for 10 a.m. on Sunday during the Sunday school hour.