Well, as if the week wasn’t already exciting enough.
I got to work this morning. Early again so that I can get some stuff done on the database before everyone else arrives. I’m there for long enough to switch my computer on, log in, open up and start reading the emails that I have. Then blank.
The power went out.
Apparently the entire grid crashed. Traffic lights were down – in peak hour traffic – the building was completely switched off. I heard that there was someone stuck on the top floor of our building – which to me says they were in the lift, since otherwise they could well have used the fire escape stairs to get up and down.
It’s just one of those weeks I guess. I’m actually getting more and more okay with it as the week goes on. Things just keep going wrong and I just keep smiling my way through it. There’s no point letting it get you down, because that’s not going to change anything.
Now if only I could apply that logic to every aspect of my life. Work’s one thing, applying it across the board’s another thing entirely.
Well, it’s party time!
God goes through and tells Moses all the celebrations and feasts that the Israelites should celebrate. I’m intrigued to know where they fit with the normal calendar. The reason being that most religious festivals in history were celebrated alongside seasonal changes.
But I love parties, and apparently God does too.
Which doesn’t surprise me in the slightest.
He starts off with the Sabbath. Not necessarily a ‘festival’ so to speak, but a day specifically set aside for him. I love this idea, too. It’s not only a day for God, but it’s a day for the people. God’s not only telling them to come celebrate him, but he’s telling them just to take a day off.
“Chill out and relax for a day, spend that day with me.”
Then comes the Passover, and the feast of unleavened bread. First, a reminder of what God did to bring them out of Egypt, and then seven days of purification. Leaven was symbolic of sin, thus the purification.
Firstfruits comes back to the point from chapter 22, about giving God the best. God doesn’t just ask for the best, he asks for the first. He expects to be first in our lives, and so in bringing him the first of what is received, it’s a demonstrated action of placing God first; above even our own needs.
Now the feast of weeks, it follows on from the Firstfruits, but I’m curious… From reading this, I’m assuming that this was a communal giving. Seven male lambs, each a year old, and other animals as well. That’s a LOT of stuff to bring; and a LOT of stuff to cook. It doesn’t seem feasible that this could be the requirements of each person, does it?
Trumpets. Another day of rest, a day again, dedicated just to relaxing – with trumpets. Chilling out at a jazz bar sounds a good way to celebrate this feast.
The day of Atonement is perhaps my favourite. I love the concept of atonement, the purification of ourselves from our sins, making us holy and washed clean before God.
Finally the feast of Tabernacles. This was the major party, it would seem. Don’t you wish these days that we had week-long public holidays? Have an entire week off to celebrate, and give glory to God.
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