'You are a... priesthood.' 1 Peter 2:9 NIV
Know anyone with ‘asbestos fingers’? Those guys who casually toss coals around when setting up a fire, or play with candles at dinner tables? In the Old Testament, priests had to be a bit like that. They were chosen to get close to God (read Hebrews 9:1–10. Wow!) and the things of God—closer than the rest of the people, enough to feel the searing heat, the ‘holiness that hurts the eyes’, and they were allowed to withstand it. God’s temple priests got involved with the altar, its vessels and the offerings.
‘High priests’ got the closest to God. They made sacrifices for sins and invited the presence of God back into the community. They were people who wore the Name of the Lord on their foreheads (Exodus 28:38). That, and what they did in that yearly ‘Day of Atonement’ service, made a way for God’s people to be close to Him again, even in their sin–filled history. And today? Peter says ‘you are a priesthood.’ You are a priesthood. You. Church tradition used to say that cherubs (the ones who somehow on our postcards got misrepresented as cute winged babies instead of sword–wielding gatekeepers) had rosy cheeks because they were the angels that flew closest to God’s throne. It was understood that the heat was close to burning their faces off. This was where the high priest could go safely—right into God’s presence, in with the angels—and this is where we’re allowed, today. How? And why? Stay tuned: more on that tomorrow.
SoulFood (Pentecost): Lev 23:15-22, Acts 2:1-18
word4U2day (an adaptation of The Word for Today authored by Bob & Debby Gass) is published under licence by UCB Australia. 2015 UCB International Ltd