Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Removing the Fireplace Screens

"...But let us, for a moment, consider the idol as the God of Moses saw it. The very first commandment of the Ten Commandments includes the phrase, 'You shall not have other gods besides me' (Ex. 20:3). Other translations use the phrase 'you shall not have strange gods before me.'  Do we stop to think of what it means to have something 'before God'? It means to put something 'first,' yes, but more fundamentally it means to put something 'in front' of God, as one might put a screen in front of a fireplace and therefore place it 'before' the fire.  What is before God, then, is also before us; it stands between God and us; it separates us from him. Just as a covenant of marriage cannot grow in closeness and oneness - cannot become one flesh - if something is put between a couple, the covenant between God and humanity cannot grow and survive if our strange, self-reflective idols are placed between ourselves and him."

      - Elizabeth Scalia in  Strange Gods: Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life., page 9