Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Word for Sunday, July 11

I'm not at all sure whether this is a late WFW for last week, or an early one for this week. Come Wednesday or Thursday, I guess I'll find out. I haven't been online much this week -- paradoxically, because I've been on vacation. One of those "project" vacations, that is. I've been overhauling the upstairs bathroom, and since I'm about as adept a handyman as your typical Tolkien orc, everything takes me twice as long as a normal person would take, and has to be repeated two or three times before I get it halfway correct.

This one represents a brief departure from 2 Corinthians. It's a single verse from Leviticus: chapter 19, verse 28:
You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead, nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the Lord.
I looked this up because of something I saw a few days ago at the YMCA (my early-morning workout is a strong enough habit that it still seems to happen when I'm on vacation, as long as I'm local). I noticed while I was getting my shower that one of my fellow shower-ers, a young guy, had a large tattoo on his back that depicted Jesus on the cross. It was pretty artistic, as tattoos go, and presented a technically-impressive perspective view from in front of, and somewhat above, the cross, which spared the tattoo artist from having to try to depict Jesus' face; instead, we had a view of the top of his bowed head. The idea of this tattoo seemed ironic to me, since I thought I recalled that there was some Old Testament scripture enjoining against the practice of tattooing. It is, of course, a bit of the Law from the old covenant; and Jesus said (Matthew 5:17, 18)
Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished.
Jesus came to fulfill, and I rest in the confidence that He has done what He came to do; and so I take it that all is indeed accomplished. Purely as a matter of personal taste and preference, though, I find that tattooing is quite disagreeable. Your mileage, of course, may vary. Still, it seemed an odd way for a Christian to express his devotion to Jesus. If we really have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us in power, we shouldn't need a picture embedded in our flesh, or a cross on a chain around our neck, or a bumper sticker, to give evidence to the world; the evidence should be in our deeds, and in our love. Or so it seems to me.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

everything takes me twice as long as a normal person would take, and has to be repeated two or three times before I get it halfway correct.

This must be in the engineering gene. My hubby professes to be the same way. Did you get the bathroom project done - or are you like my hubby in this, too? :)

As for tattoos? I'm with you. I personally find them repulsive, and wonder why people think there's something wrong with skin the way God gave it to them. This is especially puzzling for "Christian" tattoos, but until such time as the Holy Spirit decides to convict a particular person on this issue, I keep my mouth shut unless specifically asked. Sometimes I'm not as dumb as I look.