Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
REFORMATION WITNESS AND HERITAGE
Love the Lord your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws and his commands always.
This is part of an address by Moses to Israelites. Initially, I had difficultyin connecting the text to the given theme; it became relevant when I changed the word sequence into heritage, witness and reformation. Heritage is passed on from generation to generation; witness is the authentic expression of heritage; reformation is a means of making witness effectual at a particular time.
Heritage, here, is based on God’s covenant with Israel; their election and liberation history are part of their
heritage. Living out this heritage is their witness. ‘Remember today that your children were not the ones who saw and experienced the discipline of the Lord your God (Deut. 11.2). God’s covenants with them included divine promises, as well as their obligations. They were a ‘covenant community;’ it was God’s own covenants and based on God’s gracious initiatives. The Abrahamic covenant is an unconditional promissory covenant, but the Mosaic covenant on mount Horeb is a covenant of obligations, subject to blessings and curses, in case of obedience or disobedience. This second type of covenant and the laws, which were given to help people, were renewed or reformed on the basis of God’s forgiving grace. When we move from mount Horeb to Calvary hill we see a new covenant signed by the blood of Jesus Christ.
Witness: Both the old Israelites and Christians are heirs to these covenants; we are witnesses to this heritage and have a responsibility to pass it on to others by living out or doing the Gospel. Our whole way of life should be a testimony to the grace and mercy, the justice and righteousness, of God; we are supposed to be mirrors reflecting the image of God.
Reformation: We see three unifying factors in Deuteronomy, which are of ‘one people,’ one God, and worship in the sanctuary. To make sense of their long history and their covenant relationship with God, an on-going reformation was necessary and it so now in our continued existence as the new Israel through the new covenant. Reformations over the centuries of the Mosaic laws, instructions, and rituals were primarily for preserving the purity of worship. Reformations of the 15th and 16th century under the leadership of Luther and Calvin and in our own Church in 1836, under Abraham Malpan, were also for preserving the purity of worship through liturgical revision and scripture-based living. Reformation is not a static once for all event; it is an on-going sacred movement under the guidance of the Holy Spirit for the God-given mission and witness of the Church.
Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to live out our lives in an intimate covenant relationship with thee, in the name of Lord Jesus we pray. Amen!
Dr. Zac Varghese, London, UK