I’ve been re-reading through Jon D. Levenson’s book Sinai & Zion. Something Levenson said grabed my attention today;

“The leading theological implication of the historical prologue [to the Ten Commandments], then, is that it provides a grounding for th obligations Israel felt to God, a grounding that comes not from introspection or philosophical speculation, but from the recitation of a story. Telling the story brings it alive, actualizes it, turns it from past into present and bridges the the gap between individual and collective experience, by enabling Israelites of the present generation to become the Israel of the covenant, the Israel of the classic, normative relationship with God. In sum, the historical prologue provides the data from which the nature of YHWH the reliable suzerain can be known.” pg. 42

What I found so helpful about this section of his work was the positive quality he gave to historical identity versus mystical or introspective identity in the life and religion of Israel. It was history which grounded her self-identity, retelling the story of that history which brought her into a present experience of that history, which brought individual Israelites to the place of affirming the self-identity of the Israel of the covenant.

As I consider my own identity I find that those events which most contribute to how I understand ‘who I am’ have occurred on three mountains – Sinai, Zion, and Golgotha. That who I amisn’t defined by recent politically formed parties in the church over whatever is the ‘hotest’ polemical controversy of the day be they fundamentalist-liberal-, conservative-postconservative, etc.; nor is it defined aloneby denominational affiliations that I latch onto – for me this would be the PCA; but rather that who I am is defined chiefly by Christ death and resurrection. That moment of radical salvation wrote by him on the cross for me and the rest of the elect he would call from all over the world.

And as I retell that old, old story of the cross I find my self-identity being formed less in individual terms and more as apart of a new people who bear witness to history of Golgotha as they re-tell the story to their neighbors. My individuality is being bridged into a corporate identity, though I was a spiritual orphane I’ve become with others a ‘we’  – a holy and righteous nation of priest belonging to her God – as His Sons’ bride who has a in union Him –  a covenantal union. Who’s covenant Lords’ gracious initiation, preservation, and completion of the previously established suzerain treaty has a surety that brings us hope when the stories of the world around us seem to great to overcome. We stand, knowing the good work He has begun in us He will complete unto that Great Day of Salvation…