May 12, 2019: Day 15 – Deuteronomy 15

So this is the description of the year of jubilee.  Every seventh year the debt that was owed within the Israelite community was forgiven.  This was true both financially as well as those who were slaves.  This is an exceptional model, one that we do not follow, but what a difference this would make.  Look at vs.11 and see if it reminds you of Matthew 26:11 or Mark 14:7 where Jesus says that you will have the poor with you always, so you must always make them a priority.  This is emphasized in Deuteronomy 15:11 where we read  that since we will always have the poor with us then we ought to open our hand to the poor and the needy neighbor in the land.   It says not just in the land, but in your land.  We have the beginning of a fledgling social ministry as we have a food bank and opportunities for people to come in and see if their needs can be met.  But we can do so much more to open our hand for the poor.   There are some disturbing verses about slaves and slavery which I pray we are able to relegate to that which is from well before the dawn of the age where we understood that all people were made from the same mud.  But did you notice that it speaks also very specifically to those who had slaves who were Israelites.  So we know that back then one could become a slave not because they were exported from another country and were of a different race or ethnicity, but rather from the same bloodline.   I'm not sure this makes it better, but slavery back in Moses' day was built around those who were indebted to society for a whole variety of reasons.  Remember a diverse society is a fairly new construct and one that is uniquely American.  Much of our diversity has come from forced migration, but much of it has also come because people have sought our opportunities.  The African American experience is one that has to be revisited because of the forced, violent, barbaric migration that we masterminded.  It will never go away the pain that was caused by this tragedy in history.
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