Deuteronomy 25-27 are chapters full of declarations - strong declarations of laws and decrees for living in functional and just community and also ones for living in relationship with the Lord. Chapter 26 caught my eye in particular because in this passage, God gives specific instructions for how Israel is to place the basket of firstfruits before the Lord in the dwelling of His name (1-2). God also gives specific verbiage for how Israel is to present this basket of firstfruits (3-11). Each time the Israelites present this basket to the Lord and make this declaration, they reaffirm their spiritual heritage and also their destiny as children of God.
Recently, I have become more interested in studying and understanding liturgy. Growing up in an evangelical-hybrid denomination, we did not practice traditional liturgy. However, when I began dating my husband, visits home would often place us at Catholic mass on Sunday morning. Unused to liturgy, I felt awkward and naïve responding; unsure what I was actually responding to and whether I could participate in the practice at all. Today, visits home continue to place us at Catholic mass on Sunday mornings. While it is not beholden to being Catholic, I am developing an ever-growing grasp of the greater body of Christ and their practice of liturgy. In so doing, developing an appreciation of it and its function in individual and corporate faith practice.
The pastor declares an attribute of God or a portion of His story. In so doing we respond reaffirming who God is and submitting to His Lordship over our lives.
In Deuteronomy 26:16-19, it says “The LORD your God commands you this day to follow these decrees and laws; carefully observe them with all your heart and with all your soul. 17 You have declared this day that the LORD is your God and that you will walk in obedience to him, that you will keep his decrees, commands and laws—that you will listen to him. 18 And the LORD has declared this day that you are his people, his treasured possession as he promised, and that you are to keep all his commands. 19 He has declared that he will set you in praise, fame and honor high above all the nations he has made and that you will be a people holy to the LORD your God, as he promised.”
Slowly, I am learning to declare.