Saturday, April 08, 2023

Five Minute Friday :: Own

segullah on flower
Five Minute Friday :: Own Linkup

Although I contacted the domain host and the person I talked with did his best to update this blog on the CMS, it still doesn't load correctly and there seems to be zero way to contact blogger directly. If the blog didn't date from July 2002 I might give up and start another, but I don't want to lose all that content and I really really like the blogger interface, so migrating to another CMS with the same name isn't an option. Therefore… I formally Five Minute Friday'ed on my scripture blog again and I'm replicating everything on desert spirit's fire.


When we own something, it belongs to us. Some ownership of an item or object, a success or a failure, is a clear choice—when you purchase something, for example. Sometimes we need to own a circumstance or outcome that happened because of many factors, so that particular owning is a bit complicated.

…if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, then you shall be my special treasure or possession – segullah – סְגֻלָּה – among all the peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. Exodus 19:5-6

Just as God claimed Israel as God's own during their desert trek toward the Land of Promise, in baptism God owns and possesses us. We belong to God! God chooses us, claims us, and charges us to be part of the reign of heaven on earth. As the PCUSA's Sixth Great End of the Church expresses it, "The exhibition of the reign of heaven to the world." That means the world sees heaven when they observe us! It's both gift and response ("responsibility") because God's promises have a condition.

Almost immediately before giving them the ten words of commandments that describe how God's people are to live out their relationships with God, known and nearby neighbors, and with strangers (sojourners, aliens, foreigners in scriptural terms), God tells them if they obey and keep covenant, then God will treasure them, "own" them, in a particular way.

Yes, God loves each of us and all creation unconditionally. But keeping Torah and keeping our baptismal covenants carry the distinctive responsibility of owning them by acting for the good of friends, neighbors, newcomers, strangers, frenemies, and even enemies to help create a flourishing common-wealth.

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five minute friday own
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