Community ConnectionsWTS Professor of Missiology, World Christianity and Methodist Studies
Best Advice ReceivedWrite it down and do it now! -- Quaker philosopher and ethicist, D. Elton Trueblood
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets;
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.”
any people have made the mistake of disassociating Jesus from his Jewish roots and context. Jesus makes it clear in Matthew 5:17 that he did not come to abolish the law or the prophets, rather to fulfill. As Christians we often make the mistake of placing greater value in the New Testament at the expense of the Hebrew Bible. Vanderbilt Divinity School professor, Amy-Jill Levine, lives in this in-between space as someone who is Jewish and teaches the New Testament to Christian theology students. In her book, Entering the Passion of Jesus: A Beginner’s Guide to Holy Week (Abingdon 2018), Levine describes Jewish beliefs, practices and holy days and how these traditions have been adapted in Christianity. She especially compares the Christian liturgical season of Lent to the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Levine writes: “…during Lent you have the opportunity to think about your life alongside the life of Jesus, inviting toward transformation and then outward action.” (p.13) Levine believes that both religious holidays encourage us to ask: How can I be a better me? How could we, as a community, have a better us? What do we need to do to move forward so that the next year will be better than the year before?
As the Gospel writer affirmed in the Book of Matthew, Jesus did not come to abolish the law or the prophets, rather continue and fulfill God’s promises. I invite you to journey in this season of Lent asking yourself Levine’s introspective questions.
Reflection Question: How can I be a better me? How could we, as a community, have a better us? What do we need to do to move forward so that the next year will be better than the year before?
We are grateful for our Lenten Devotional contributors whose reflections have been offered as original submissions and reflect the views of the author.
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