Liturgy: “At the Altar”
Today, in our own messy lives, we can learn from the Israelites by also seeking atonement. We can also go through the rituals to bring ourselves closer to God. Pray, read the Bible, attend a worship service, honor the sabbath.
What is the King’s Liturgy? King’s Liturgy defines our experience together as a Christian community. It outlines the rhythms we celebrate with the Church at large: Scripture readings, Sabbath habits, and celebration of Holy Days and historical events.
This Week’s Scripture Readings
This week’s liturgy is contributed by Dr. Kimberly Reeve, Associate Professor of Business; Chair of the Program in Business and Finance; Dean of Academic Affairs:
Any time I read the books of Leviticus, all that my modern senses can think about is the smell that must have emanated from the temple. Think about it, people were commanded to slaughter animals, spread their blood, and burn their fat, all under a haze of burning incense. As I was once again shuddering at the sights, sounds, and smells expressed in Leviticus, I was struck by their applicability to our lives today.
I don’t know about you, but these days, my life feels a little bit like that altar. I’m also a mess. This “in between” time of waiting on our collective future is hard. Really hard. Some days there is hope, and others there is despair. This whiplash of a possible partner to come alongside us, oh, looks like they just pulled out, but wait someone else has stepped up . . . has gutted me emotionally and affected me mentally. I have a hard time focusing and find myself switching aimlessly from task to task and not getting much of anything done. And while I’m not sacrificing cows or burning pigeons, as I look around, I have similar carnage in my messy house, complete with dirty cat paw prints all over the kitchen floor.
But another theme that comes through in all of Leviticus is that of obedience. There are a lot of rules to follow and specific instructions. I can almost picture Aaron trying to remember, “Now, am I spreading the blood seven times to the right or to the left?” Some of the rules don’t even make sense to our modern eyes. However, those rules protected the Israelites, often from themselves, and set up basic laws for the community to follow. Obeying those rules, getting the sacrifice done at the right time, at the right place, in the right way, also resulted in atonement, bringing the Israelites closer to God and ensuring He would not leave their temple. The temple of Aaron’s time was a mess – blood, guts, fires. But out of that mess comes God’s forgiveness, order, and cleanliness.
Today, in our own messy lives, we can learn from the Israelites by also seeking atonement. We can also go through the rituals to bring ourselves closer to God. Pray, read the Bible, attend a worship service, honor the sabbath. I have started to intentionally pray every day on my walk to the train and again on my way back home. Bookending my workday by drawing closer to God doesn’t solve the turmoil at King’s. My days are still hard, and my house is still messy, but it centers me on God and reminds me of His provision.
Slowly, we can start to clean away the messiness of our lives and be strengthened by God’s provision and ultimate atonement for us. Then, finally, we can join the psalmist in singing, “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”