Perhaps it may turn out a sang,
Perhaps turn out a sermon.

-- R. Burns Epistle to a Young Friend

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Songs of Ascent

This is the law of the temple: the whole territory on the top of the mountain all around shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the temple. -- Ezekiel 43:12

Access to the Father is no longer limited to a priesthood.  Everyone, regardless of birth, sex, race, or social status is able to enter into a relationship and communion with God.  What had been limited and restricted becomes open and free, the price of absolution and admittance having been fully paid on the Cross. 

The common is removed, not by being taken away or demolished but by being transformed.  The most ordinary aspects of life – eating, sleeping, working, serving – are renewed, dying and resurrecting to become yet another means of worshiping and honoring the Lord. 

And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.  For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. … This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel (Ephesians 2:17-18, 3:6). 

There is no person beyond God’s reach.  Every corner of our lives can become holy.

The way I look at it, the temple and its immediate grounds -- what was set apart under the instruction of Moses and enforced by the priesthood of Aaron, represents more traditional, exoteric religious thinking.  We do good.  We live right.  We act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.  There is nothing wrong with this, just as there was nothing wrong with the temple or that tabernacle.  But it leaves us stuck in the illusion of a ground floor in the two-story universe. 

The fuller, more whole type of Christian faith and practice brings us up closer to the level of heaven.  Notice that it is the top of the mountain that is holy.  There are valleys and gulches that we must leave behind.  God doesn’t sanctify our dark and worldly desires; those He banishes.  We must lay aside much that burdens and holds us back if we would make the ascent. 

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