Sunday, January 31, 2021

Unique Pledges


Deuteronomy 18:15-20 

Moses summoned all Israel and said to them, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you shall heed such a prophet. This is what you requested of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said: ‘If I hear the voice of the Lord my God any more, or ever again see this great fire, I will die.’ Then the Lord replied to me: ‘They are right in what they have said. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their own people; I will put my words in the mouth of the prophet, who shall speak to them

everything that I command. Anyone who does not heed the words that the prophet shall speak in my name, I myself will hold accountable. But any prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, or who presumes to speak in my name a word that I have not commanded the prophet to speak—that prophet shall die.’”


I Corinthians 8:1-13 

Now concerning food sacrificed to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. Anyone who claims to know something does not yet have the necessary knowledge; but anyone who loves God is known by him. Hence, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “no idol in the world really exists,” and that “there is no God but one.” Indeed, even though there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as in fact there are many gods and many lords—yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. It is not everyone, however, who has this knowledge. Since some have become so accustomed to idols until now, they still think of the food they eat as food offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. “Food will not bring us close to God.” We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if others see you, who possess knowledge, eating in the temple of an idol, might they not, since their conscience is weak, be encouraged to the point of eating food sacrificed to idols? So by your knowledge those weak believers for whom Christ died are destroyed. But when you thus sin against members of your family, and wound their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food is a cause of their falling, I will never eat meat, so that I may not cause one of them to fall.


Mark 1:21-38   

Jesus and his disciples went into Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, “What is this? A new teaching—with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.



There is yogic term in the first Yama (Yamas and Niyamas are the Yoga Ten Commandments) called Ahimsa. Ahimsa means "Do No Harm."  Yoga Therapists think of it as our Hippocratic Oath.  Although the origins of both of these pledges is different they both mean the same in practice. I, like a doctor, promise to do what is in the best interest of my patient/client and to do what is in their best interest. Both pledges honor good over evil.


In the biblical readings today we see a similar theme of good over evil, or God - Capital "G" over god - small "g".  There is a feeling of compassion for those of less knowledge, an acceptance of those outside of the fold who are good. Yet a fierce reprimand to follow only God (not god), and expulsion of evil as performed by Jesus in the interest of doing no harm. Jesus was, to me, one of the earliest Integrative Medicine Practitioners. I often wonder about his learning and life during the lost years between his childhood and ministry. This subject is often a touchpoint for Christian debate between the denominations and people. I'm not here to debate today, I've done plenty of that over family dinners, but I’m here just to remind us all that our main goal, all of us, is to do no harm, to lead with compassion towards good and away from evil, to protect the weak, and to follow our own unique pledges toward these goals.




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