Reading the laws in Leviticus, Numbers, or Deuteronomy, we may feel a little frightened; if the sheer number doesn’t overwhelm us, the strangeness and seeming brutality often does. We may even find ourselves moaning about how unfair it all seems: 613 laws! How could God expect anyone to live up to that? And yet there they are. And Jesus claimed he did not come to change even the smallest of them; not even a period or a comma. So, what are we to do? Perhaps we are looking at the laws in the wrong way. What if we saw them not as a set of rules, but as a set of spiritual practices, not as a way of gaining God’s love, but as a way of opening our souls to the ever-flowing fountain of God’s love and grace?
When I feel overwhelmed by life
and exhausted by expectations and demands
give me the peace to know that I am your beloved child,
and that is all I need.
Holy Spirit, when I read a difficult passage in Scripture
or struggle with a Church teaching,
help me to receive even my confusion as a gift.
You gave laws to Israel, and to all your people—
not to frighten us, not to drive us away, but always to lead us back to you.
Open my eyes, my ears, my mind to what Scripture is saying
and let my heart become like fertile ground
where God’s love can be planted and grow.
Spend time in prayer and contemplation, pondering some scriptural teaching that has always troubled you. Find the passage in your Bible. Read the entire chapter it appears in to get the context for the teaching. Read the preceding chapter and the chapter that follows to see if anything stands out to you related to the verse you’ve chosen. Now ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes, that you can read God’s word more clearly, to open your ears that you can hear God’s message more completely, and to open your heart that you will be filled with the love that is always found there.