Atonement. Holy Worship. Holy Life

Day 56

Leviticus 16:29-18:30; Mark 7:24-8:10; Psalm 41:1-13; Proverbs 10:15-16

Atonement. Holy Worship. Holy Life

“On this day shall atonement be made for you, to cleanse you; from all your sins you shall be clean before the LORD.” ~ Leviticus 16:30

Leviticus gives us the laws, statutes, and ordinances that God required of His people, Israel. Chapters 1-16 are the detailed instructions for the worship of God by the Israelites. Chapters 17-27 are God’s detailed commands for living a holy life before God.

The book of Leviticus is challenging reading for many people. We do not like having our lives micro-managed, we resist authority, we want to control our own destiny, and we know what is best for us. But is this true? DO we know what is best for us? Do we really know how to control our own destiny? Is being our own authority successful, and do we really manage our own lives effectively?

God’s biblical meta-narrative… God’s full revelation of Himself… the Kingdom of God coming to us… the Incarnation of the Word made flesh… Jesus Christ… His passion, crucifixion, death, resurrection, ascension, and return in glory is the true plan for humankind. Participation in the plan of Jesus’ atonement for our sins is by having a personal relationship with Jesus through our holy worship and living a holy life based on love and covenant with God.

God provides the way to cleanse us from our sins through Jesus Christ. Make Lent a time of giving control, authority, and management of our lives to the Lord. Let us contemplate the atoning acts Jesus has done for us and offer Him holy worship and holy lives following His commandments and leading new lives loving and serving Him.

The Rev. James Brzezinski
The Church of the Holy Faith
Santa Fe, NM

Defiled Hands

Day 55

Leviticus 15:1-16:28; Mark 7:1-23; Psalm 40:11-17; Proverbs 10:13-14

Defiled Hands

God spoke to Moses and Aaron about everything, down to what we consider most personal and private. If God spoke to the leaders of the people about such things, why are we so squeamish about them?

It was no wonder that the Pharisees are quick to ask Jesus about the disciples eating with defiled hands. God cared about all these things and outlined specific ways of dealing with them in the Torah. It is when we become preoccupied with the details of things that we get off track and start to make idols of them.

God wanted them dealt with reasonably so that they might not become a distraction for the people wandering in the desert. We are the ones who make a big deal of the details. Jesus wants the people to know that we are not to make a big deal of anything that is not God, that is not love, that is not for the welfare of the people!

God speaks through Aaron and Moses in order to take shame away from the people. Jesus comes into the world to destroy shame, to destroy sin that would stick to us, make us embarrassed to be together, eat together, worship together. Our psalm begs of God, “Make haste to help me!” God will be there when we call, no matter if our hands are washed, our bodies pure, our clothes clean.

The Rev. Alison P. Harrity
St. Richard’s Episcopal Church
Orlando, FL

Mighty Mouth!

Day 54

Leviticus 14:1‐57; Mark 6:30‐56; Psalm 40:1‐10; Proverbs 10:11‐12

Mighty Mouth!

We all know the rhyme: “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” We all know it is not true. Words are extremely effective at causing hurt. That is actually why the rhyme came to be, we teach kids to thicken their emotional skin against the sticks and stones of hurtful speech. Most people have been on the receiving end of such verbal abuse and have the scars to prove it. Sadly, we do need to be able to absorb verbal blows just to function in this life. And yet if we harden our hearts to the power of words, do we not damage our ability to be in a right relationship with others and with God?

We cannot control what others say, but we can control our own speech. The proverb for today encourages us to see the power our mouths have to cause great evil:

“The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life,
but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.

Hatred stirs up strife,
but love covers all offenses.” –Proverbs 10:11-12

Not only can our mouths conceal violence, they also can cover all offenses. They can stir up strife or they give life—a fountain of life.

So…what is coming out of your mouth these days; is it anger, hatred, and strife? Or, is your mouth flowing like a fountain of life-giving, sin-covering love? How can you use your words today to flow with the love that covers all offenses?

The Rev. Charlie Holt
The Church of St. John the Divine
Houston, TX