Archive for February 18th, 2022

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Night Camp in the Negev Desert

Leviticus 13

Outside the Camp

Friday, February 18, 2022

In the Book of Leviticus we find hundreds of laws that are meant to regulate a faith-governed Jewish life. Ironically, these rules created by men to assure fidelity too often create a world that our divine creator did not intend. Just so is the admonition we read today.

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “If someone has on his skin a scab or pustule or blotch which appears to be the sore of leprosy, he shall be brought to Aaron, the priest, or to one of the priests among his descendants. If the man is leprous and unclean, the priest shall declare him unclean by reason of the sore on his head. (13:1-2)

We might argue that this quarantine preserves the human race and that the separation is necessary. But what might we say about our obligation to tend to the needs of this isolated community?

The one who bears the sore of leprosy shall keep his garments rent and his head bare, and shall muffle his beard; he shall cry out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ As long as the sore is on him he shall declare himself unclean, since he is in fact unclean. He shall dwell apart, making his abode outside the camp”. (44-46)

How might we see our own beliefs and actions in our daily lives when we encounter people, places and themes that we see as unclean?

A leper came to Jesus and kneeling down begged him and said, “If you wish you can make me clean”. Move with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean”. The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean. (Mark 1:40-42)

As we prepare for our Lenten journey, we pause for a time today to reflect on these verses and to consider how we enact Christ’s actions in our lives. How do see those who are set apart? How do we deal with themes, places and persons segregated from our own careful societies? How do we interact with those outside our clearly delineated camp?

For further reflection, read about Fr. Damien and the U.S. National Historic Site on the Hawaiian island of Molokai and those who suffer from Hansen’s Disease at: http://visitmolokai.com/kala.html

For information on biking tours in the Negev Desert, click on the image above or visit: http://www.veredgo.com/dynamic/tours/about/Biking+through+the+Negev+Desert/ 

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