It’s funny how hard it is to change your mindset.
I had a terror of a morning today. I walked into work and the internet was down, we’d get access for thirty seconds or so and then it would die off again. Not good at all, especially when our entire business basically relies on internet access to function (which is sadly a state of most businesses these days. No computers, no work.)
So I ended up on the phone at 8:20 this morning, only five minutes after I’d walked in the door, to our IT company. They thought it was a server issue, so were trying to fix it, only to find that they couldn’t connect. So off I went to contact our Internet Service Provider – who told me that the problem wasn’t with them but with Telstra. Telstra in turn told me the problem wasn’t with them it was with our ISP, and so on and so forth, around in circles I went.
Anyway, what I found was myself just desiring everything that I’ve cut out of my life in the past five months or so. I wanted a cigarette, and a beer, and a coffee – I don’t know why I wanted a coffee as well – beer and a cigarette I can understand, but coffee? Oh well, the point is that even after several months, my brain still starts reaching for those things when things get tough. The difficulty level is higher, and the craving is less, but the desire is still there.
So I went to church instead!
When I finally had a few minutes where I didn’t need to be on the phone, I just said I was going for a walk. One of my workmates told me to remember to come back. I was exceptionally stressed out.
The first place I wanted to be, though, was with God. I know that I don’t have to be in a church to be with God; but I’ve found in the city that entering a cathedral that’s open during the day does allow me to just feel slightly separated from everything outside. It’s like a sanctuary; there’s still something about the physical ‘house’ of God.
So I went and prayed, just asked God for comfort and peace, and sure enough, he gave it. It was really like one of those moments of knowing that he’s Abba father; daddy; the caring father figure whose lap we can just curl up on. When we need him to give a hug and comfort, he’s more than happy to come through for us.
I really like this chapter. As I read through the conditions imparted onto the priests of Israel, I’m reminded of some of the things that Jesus said.
The priests are told that they are not to make themselves unclean for anyone other than the most immediate relatives. If a person died, then touching the dead person was to make oneself unclean. I’m guessing there was even more to it than that too. As I read this, I almost feel like God’s actually saying not to grieve for the people who are not most immediate to them. Parents, siblings and children were the exceptions.
Unless you were the high priest. Then you were not to actually make yourself unclean no matter who died. Not even to enter a place where there was a dead body.
To me, I don’t see this as anything negative. I see it as a recognition that as a priest, these people were those who went between the people and God. They were set apart, even from the people who were set apart from the nations. They were not to be troubled by things such as death.
Perhaps that’s why I view it that way. I don’t fear death; I didn’t even before I came back to God. I don’t want to die any time soon; but at the same time I’m not afraid of it. It doesn’t really trouble me. It’s a part of life, a natural part of our physical existence.
These priests weren’t to be troubled by the difficulties of physical life. They were to be so focussed on the spiritual that death in the physical was not something that they troubled themselves with. Their lives were to be lived in the spiritual realm, in the realm closer to God.
A holy life is still lived in the physical world, but it is not troubled by the struggles of the physical world.
“Regard them as holy, because they offer up the food of your God. Consider them holy, because I the LORD am holy – I who make you holy.” ~ Leviticus 21:8