‘Utterly destroy all the places’ (Deuteronomy, 12,1-14; Acts 11,19-end) (Thursday after second Sunday of Easter, Matins)
‘Ye shall utterly destroy all the places, wherein the nations which ye shall possess served their gods, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every green tree.…ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place.’
We need to ‘undo our old practices’. Even the memories of our unfaithfulness, that is the consequences of our sins, ‘should be utterly destroyed’. We can read this otherwise very difficult passage as the ‘ecological footprint’ of the soul. Sins, our worship of idols, have their consequences: they erode personal relationships, our and sense of the common good. These harmful consequences need to be healed.
The commandment continues. ‘Ye shall eat before the Lord your God, and ye shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand unto.’ To rejoice where we are, over what we have, is a divine imperative. This is the heartbeat of having a healthy ‘spiritual and moral footprint’ in the world. Thus we will perceive and appreciate God’s goodness and healing greatness that surrounds us.
Christians, from Acts, can learn something important from their ‘ecological footprint’ on the path of history. We read that ‘the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.’ They rejoiced when they ‘saw the grace of God’ and ‘cleaved unto the Lord.’ It is worth observing that the name ‘Christian’, from the very onset, was associated with compassionate help. ‘Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the [afflicted] brethren which dwelt in Judea.’ This is our way of undoing the harms that our previous ‘idol worship’ caused to society.
These are verbal Icons, expressions of how the world is seen from Saint Augustine's..