When the priest takes the basket from your hand and sets it down before the Lord, Deut 26 reads, you shall make this response: “A wandering Aramean was my ancestor…yet the Lord brought us out with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, to the land flowing with milk and honey.” Skipping down a few lines: “So now I bring to you this first of the fruit of the ground that you, O Lord, have given me.”
This is the testimony the Israelites are to make. To memorize. To recite, and to give witness to in their festival offering. Not “Here’s how I grew this.” Or “My even my name is… and I live down in the valley.” No, one is to begin his ritual offering with words that are not his own, borrowed words.
Still true, but borrowed: “A wandering Aramean was my ancestor.”
In Romans 10, our reading for Sunday, Feb 17, opens with a quotation which is also taken from Deuteronomy. “The Word is near you, on your lips and in your heart.”
In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus uses words that are not his own to resist the temptation. Again, borrowed words. Still true, but borrowed. One does not live by bread alone. Worship the Lord your God, and serve only Him. Do not put the Lord your God to the test.
There is much importance placed on expressing our uniqueness, telling our personal stories. But Sundays like this one make me wonder if the point of faithful living is not uniqueness, but rather, taking the time to learn others’ words and stories, thereby connecting them to our own.
Dearest Lord Christ, who spent years wandering: may the faithful words and stories of others reveal the truth in us. Amen.