Sunday, February 15, 2009
Check this out...
"Aaron lifted his hands over the people and blessed them. Having completed the rituals of the Absolution-Offering, the Whole-Burnt-Offering, and the Peace-Offering, he came down from the Altar. Moses and Aaron entered the Tent of Meeting. When they came out they blessed the people and the Glory of God appeared to all the people. Fire blazed out from God and consumed the Whole-Burnt-Offering and the fat pieces on the Altar. When all the people saw it happen they cheered loudly and then fell down, bowing in reverence." (Leviticus 8: 22-24)
They are doing all this bloody, gory stuff with the animals, just like God has told them to. The people are all gathered around, waiting. Then they come out and bless the people - AND THE GLORY OF GOD APPEARS!
Not only that!
Fire comes out of nowhere and burns up the sacrifice that is on the altar! The people cheer loudly, and fall down, bowing in reverence...
This is exciting stuff! God is alive. And powerful.
There is more to the story. Two of Aaron's sons decided to offer up fire to God that He had NOT approved. The text says, "Fire blazed out from God and consumed them—they died in God's presence."
That made everyone pay attention!
So what is reverence?
In Eastern Europe I have seen people stand through an entire Orthodox service, and women had their heads covered with a scarf - out of reverence. Catholics come into the cathedral quietly, cross themselves then sit - out of reverence. Some folks feel you should be quiet and still in service - out of reverence. Yet the modern North American church is a happy, boisterous place, with kids running around and people talking excitedly in groups. What does reverence look like for them?
I write this before dashing off to my own church for Sunday Service. I anticipate joyfully the worship, the fellowship, the message. What does reverence mean for me?
As I meet God, the Alive, Powerful God. In Church.