The source of our obedience (Deuteronomy 4,25-40; Acts 4,32-5,11)
God expects obedience of the newly formed people of Israel. They must remember his Law and their liberation by God. To the extent that God speaks clearly: if they worship alien idols, they will lose the life which stems from the Covenant.
The real or second focus, however, is not our obedience but the source of our obedience. It is indeed true that God expects obedience. Yet, we should realise that actually when we do so we are only imitating God’s obedience to us! When we recall his gifts and miracles, we can clearly see how He first committed himself to the cause of our salvation. He obediently followed his plan to save us. Here, actually, God ‘imitates’ his own nature, Love. ‘For ask now of the days of past, which were before thee, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and ask from the one side of heaven unto the other, whether there hath been any such things as this great thing is, or hath been heard like it? Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live? Or hath God assayed to go and take him a nation from the midst of another nation, by temptations, by signs, and by wonders…?’ So the focus is pure love; pure redeeming Love.
Acts is a remarkable account of the forming ethos of the Christian Church. Our church was grounded in absolute obedience to God’s Redeeming Love. People, and the first communities, became fully transparent to contemplate what God has done for us in the Risen Christ. This forming ethos has been passed over to all the historical churches. Still our call is to cherish, cultivate, and re-ignite this first obedience. ‘And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own: but they had all things in common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.’
What is the significance of reigniting this first obedience to God? The very fact, that if we remember God’s commandments and laws with full commitment − Jesus is with us! We, just like the members of the apostolic church, perceived Jesus among them. And this is the normal state of faith: when there is no or hardly any border between the Resurrected Jesus and us. Easter unites us, and this is its secret. There is no distance between our person and the Person of Jesus. He is sharing every moment of our life together in the local church.
These are verbal Icons, expressions of how the world is seen from Saint Augustine's..