“Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that’s in you, love him with all you’ve got! Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside of your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates.”
(Deuteronomy 6:5-9, MSG)
“Point your kids in the right direction – when they’re old they won’t be lost.”
(Proverbs 22:6, MSG)
Perhaps Moses knew what he was talking about after all. As I’ve read through Deuteronomy over the years, whether formally in study for an Old Testament hermeneutics course, or informally for devotion, I’ve often questioned the literalness of his instruction throughout Old Testament law, a seemingly needless rigidity in his final instruction to the Israelite nation, a patriarch making peace with the reality his people – his wandering family – was about to enter their new home, ‘the Promised land,’ without him. His instructions seem culturally rooted in a different historical age, irrelevant to the demands of modern technology and this age we live within.
And yet, when I consider the reality that human beings have a universally biological need to eat, and a social need to eat together (William Doherty, “Reclaiming the Dinner Hour”), I realise the deep wisdom in Moses’ urgent plea towards his friends. Do whatever it takes to help your family remember God, who has fashioned you in His Image. Whether seated at the table eating dinner, taking a walk to the park, or in the normalcy of human life, consider God’s Kingdom within your midst. Invite God into your daily space, into ‘every room’ of your house. This is the secret of the Kingdom – God is already near. Open to His presence all around you! Invite a friend to ponder this Kingdom reality with you this month, using the spiritual practice of “Imagining the Text: Ignatian Contemplation” to imaginatively enter into the scene of Deuteronomy 6:1-25 in The Message.