Thursday, November 3, 2016

praying for his shift to end

The Word for today:
2 Chronicles 29:1-31:1
Death is the last obscenity in our decadent age.
We don't hide obscene words away. Heard on any street, at any mall, in any movie are words that would have curled my father's ear hair.
We don't hide deviant sex. In fact, we're supposed to feel dirty if we oppose it.
I was jogging past a church a couple weeks ago and I saw two women going inside for the Saturday night mass. They weren't dressed for mass. They were dressed for Saturday night. Thirty years ago they wouldn't have worn what they were wearing into a bar.  I'm an authority in this matter, because thirty years ago I was in a bar every night of the week.
Anything goes--but we don't let anyone see death. We make sure, as best we can, that it only happens in hospitals and hospices. We shield our children's eyes.
But it was not so in the Bible. Death was on display at the temple each day. And every year the Passover lamb was killed in full view of the entire family. God, ever an advocate of full disclosure, wanted the wages of sin to be publicly paid.
Today we read how the great King Hezekiah, the greatest King since David, re-instituted the Passover:
So they made an announcement everywhere in Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, telling the people to come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. For a long time most of the people had not celebrated the Passover as the law commanded. (2 Chronicles 30:5)
When we read that passage, our tendency is to think, "How pleasant. Everybody's going back to church."
How pleasant:
The number of the burnt offerings that the assembly brought was 70 bulls, 100 rams, and 200 lambs; all these were for a burnt offering to the LORD. And the consecrated offerings were 600 bulls and 3,000 sheep. But the priests were too few and could not flay all the burnt offerings, so until other priests had consecrated themselves, their brothers the Levites helped them, until the work was finished. (2 Chronicles 29:32-34)
We think of priests as contemplative types, with refined sensibilities. But the real picture of the priest in the temple at Passover is seen in the verses above. He was a man in a blood-stained apron, sick to his stomach over the carnage he was causing, praying for his shift to end.
On the final Passover, Jesus Christ was publicly flayed before he was led away to the cross. The devil had no shortage of priests.

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