This is serious

I listened, fascinated by the stories of an ancient time and long ago people whose reverence for YAHWEH grabs my attention. Taught respect as a child, I know  the name of God commands my respect and it should never be cursed or maligned. But the practices of this long ago time told of an awe I have trouble relating to.

scribeGod chosen Jewish tribe called themselves the People of the Name. They would not speak the name of God. Not because it was prohibited, but because they were afraid they would say it without the proper reverence. The scribes tasked with the copying of Scripture observed careful conduct when writing the Name. Upon recognition YAHWEH as the next word to be inscribed, the scribe would break and discard his quill, leave the workplace, bathe and don clean garments. He would return to his task, write the Name, break and discard his quill, leave to bathe again, don clean garments and return to his transcribing.  To me, a twenty-first century follow of Jesus, that whole process strikes me as a bit silly, at least overkill. Perhaps it is…perhaps not.

Growing up, I learned God loved me but He was also to be feared. I could get in trouble real quick if I ignored His expectations. Life consisted of a lot of rules. I didn’t want to get on God’s bad girl list. I wanted Him to be happy with me.

I matured into a growing, more accurate understand of God, His nature and my relationship to Him, based on His word. I have a heavenly Father, my abba, my daddy. (Seriously, that seems a bit awkward calling God Daddy, but I know the Scripture and that is what it says.) By the acceptable sacrifice of Jesus, I have access. I can come right to the throne of the Almighty. Jesus calls us friends.

He is holy, so to be revered. The sacred writer says, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. He does know my behavior. Paul says we will be judged according to our deeds done in the flesh, whether good or evil. He is my heavenly Father. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. He does not count transgressions against those who trust in Him. He invites me to come with confidence into His presence to find grace and help in my time of need.

However, in contrast to the ultra strict approach of the Jewish scribe, a casual view of life hallmarks modern American culture. Could this casual view deteriorate that which is serious, sacred?

In spite of psychological research supporting the fact that how we dress matters – both to ourselves and others – we have gone causal in our dress. (* examples of studies)

Once considered inappropriate public language is now acceptable and widely practiced. “There is no longer any consensus, if there ever was, on what words in the modern American lexicon are ‘indecent’ or ‘profane.’” posted on CNN, January 10, 2011, Judge Strikes Down NC Ban on Public Profanity.  Polite communication appears to be almost extinct. Speech has gone causal.

The strictures of a restrictive past slip into oblivion in favor of a relaxed, freewheeling, more authentic approach to life. What ever happen to serious?

I do understand the burden of strictures. I’m glad I don’t have to tighten the corset, button up the high topped shoes, and rustle up the petticoats to appear in public appropriately dressed. I am, however, concerned that we take care to preserve the serious.

Our ancient brothers, the scribes of Scripture, understood serious. Paul said, Be very careful then how you live, not as unwise, but as wise.

Fellow Christ followers, how we handle our lives and our relationship with God matters. This is serious.

 Good blog post on reverence for God Name.
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