Friday, January 11, 2008

An eye for an eye, but what for a parking spot?

by Lisa Brewer

Tonight I stole. I was late for bible study and was driving to church and I really really needed a parking spot. My car has this outdated Beacon Hill parking sticker. I thought, “I know this is wrong, but I’m so late. And it’s just one hour.” I also thought, “I know I’m going to have to pay for this.” I was not referring to the ticket I might (and did) get. I’m referring to atonement.

I’m pretty sure that taking a Beacon Hill resident’s spot even for one hour is theft. And that is definitely a violation of a commandment. So if I’m reading Leviticus correctly I need to confess. I stole. And I need to offer a trespass offering.

Now here’s where I’m stuck. And I guess I just didn’t feel as much guilt about previous sins to have to face this directly yet. What to do about these sacrifices??

I’ve been struggling to figure out how to interpret the sacrifices outlined in Leviticus. The regulations are pretty specific and lengthy. The first seven chapters, in fact, are dedicated to the purpose of ensuring clarity about how to make sacrifices. But I find myself so confused!

In previous readings I just sort of glossed over it. “Yeah, yeah, animal without blemish, sprinkle blood, cut in pieces, burn it, got it.” I think I even skipped some of the sections because they all look the same. Burnt offering, grain offering for peace, for sins, for trespasses, whatever, I couldn’t see how in any way this had meaning for my life. This is the old testament people carrying out ancient practices that new covenant people didn’t need to worry about.

Or do I? Somehow even though I know that Jesus has, by his sacrifice, fulfilled these laws, I feel that there is something in the ceremony, the acknowledgment, paying a price – something I have to explore this month. I just haven’t figured out what that looks like, yet.

But I think I will have to do it soon. Since I did confess to all who will read this. And the $20 ticket is only recognized retribution in the kingdom of the City of Boston. In what way will I atone in God’s kingdom?

To be continued…

I think that "You shall keep your promises." was on that third tablet that Moses dropped in the Monty Python version of the Ten Commandments. I’m going to try to keep them any way.

Rendering to Caesar...

1 comment:

Simon Chang said...

If you are gutsy, perhaps this suggestion could be very interesting. Select one resident of the aforementioned Beacon Hill area in random and proceed to her doorstep. Introduce yourself and confirm that she does have a car and that, sometime during the hour of your transgression, she was unable to find a parking space. (If she does not fit the above criteria, thank her for her time and select another resident. Proceed from beginning again.) Inform her that, because you took a parking spot which this resident could have used but didn't, you are now offering to pay for her the next time she parks in a parking garage of her choice. When asked why you are doing this, offer to have her park in YOUR parking space one day next week so you can go over some passages in Leviticus with her (and perhaps the Four Spiritual Laws as well). If she does not consent to your offer, insult you, or in any way reject you, shake the dust off your shoes as you leave her place.