It’s not simply sitting down to eat once in a while, smiling at how quaint these other generations are. It’s recognizing that we are not whole without them! We are called the “Body of Christ” collectively, not as individuals.
Titus chapter 2 verses 2 through 8 give us a great breakdown, admonishing older men, older woman, younger men, and younger women to live as part of one community. That together, united in Christ, they form the Body of which Christ is Lord, the head.
Romans 12:4-5 remind us: “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”
When one member of the body of Christ pulls away, it’s not simply that member that is impacted by the distance from a covenant community. It’s the entire body, because we are no longer whole. In the same way, we don’t look at a member of our body that is suffering or experiencing brokenness and think less of them than ourselves. We see them as a part of our collective whole, and want to do whatever we can to help bring healing and wholeness to the body.
The covenant as described in these verses has 3 primary aspects:
1. So that you may live long. – We’ve talked about how this is an obvious effect of a community that treasures and cares for it’s elders. We’ve also noted that this isn’t simply talking about Canaan – as part of the law fulfilled in Christ, this is pointing us to living long forever with Christ after we’ve experienced the transformation of resurrection!
2. That it may go well with you. – This comes from the reading of the same commandment in Deuteronomy 5:16, and Ephesians 6:2. This doesn’t mean that we’ll experience comfort and all the pleasures of this world – as some would love God to prosper them. Rather, it talks about this being “right” or “good”. This connects closely to what we would call the “right-ness” or “righteousness” of God. When we live in these ways, as Deuteronomy points out with several of the commandments, this is “right”. It may actually get us persecuted, as many in the New Testament and even today found out. But standing up and living differently than the world, according to the ways God has revealed to be our design, is always right, satisfying, and fulfilling. And when God returns to reveal His Kingdom completely, those who are living this way will find a very pleasant transition into the promised New Creation.
Which leads us to our final aspect of God’s covenant here, as we live as people who honor their father and mother:
3. In the Land the Lord your God is giving you. – We talked about how this is sooo much more than Canaan, the land flowing with milk and honey; and not a drop less. This also points to the inheritance of sharing in New Creation with Christ after receiving our resurrection bodies. This is a land that even those who are currently in Paradise with Christ look forward to, all of Heaven and Earth made new and joined together as never before.
Just as the people of God, receiving God’s word from Moses had a choice in how to respond – so do we. Over the rest of the Old Testament, we see there were times they trusted him, and lived according to His ways. Then there were times they chose their own way, and things did not go well.
We are called by God to announce a new way of living has been opened up to us! This is the promise and event we celebrate at Easter, and every Sunday throughout the year! The resurrection of Jesus declares Him as Lord over all creation, and through faith in Him we share in the inheritance and covenant of Abraham, and all of his descendants after him. We can be free from ourselves.
We can be free from the brokenness of sinful lives, and having our lives ruled by the impact of the sins of others. “Honor your father and mother” is just the beginning, and an exciting one when we realize it’s not a rule to be followed – it’s the offer of a life and community transformation.
Do you desire to be transformed? Are you willing to let go of choosing your own way, and follow His? Will you carry the covenant of God into a world, bringing with you the healing power of Jesus Christ???
I encourage you to make this your testimony. That you are accepting God’s covenant. That you will not simply follow His rules, but you want your entire mind and heart to be transformed by the presence of His Spirit. Be prepared, it may not be an easy road, but it WILL go well with you….