Deuteronomy 6:4-9 – Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

In many Jewish homes today you will see a little plaque, about thumb size, at the front door. The plaque bears tiny Hebrew letters, which stand for the ten commandments.

The residents of the home reach up and touch the little plaque, and kiss their finger-tips, whenever they go through the doorway. A reminder that those precious words go with them wherever they are going.

In January, at the Wailing Wall, I watched men binding little leather bundles on long thongs, around their wrists or foreheads. In the bundles were scraps of paper with the ten letters on them.

I saw others gather around the scrolls of scripture, honouring the words, kissing the parchment.

They take the words of Deuteronomy 6 quite literally. In action and symbol they make keeping the words in their hearts a reality in everyday life.

Perhaps we need to start, one day at a time, to work toward a similar discipline, so we can truly keep the words in our hearts as God's new covenant people.

Prayer: Loving God, help me to honour your law and keep your commandments as I live in covenant partnership with you. Amen.

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About the author:

Laurence DeWolfe
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

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