Today’s reading is Leviticus 21-22 and Mark 10:1-31
Family gatherings at my grandma and grandpa’s house was always a great experience. I had several cousins around my age. Even though we lived far apart, we all seemed to have the knack of picking up where we last left off at these dinners. Easter dinners were a great deal of fun because not only were there the promise of an egg hunt and card games but there was sure to be a great meal with an abundance of homemade fancies. The problem with having so many people in a small rural house was that the creation of a “kid” table was inevitable. Our parents would usher us through a makeshift lineup of food before they place all the pretty dishes of food on the “adult” table. The kiddos were made to sit in the basement to eat our food and wait for the adults to have their fill of conversation and food before we could re-emerge to get our little mitts on dessert. It was easy to idolize the adult table while being in the basement. As much fun as us kids had, we still heard the uproarious laughter coming from the upstairs. We knew that our parents were enjoying the fine china. We knew that in between laughter they were undoubtedly speaking of important things that allowed the world to continue spinning on its axis.The great table exuded power. The adults controlled when the dessert could be served. They controlled when children could be allowed second helpings of food. They even (at times) when we would be allowed to get up from the table to resume our play. Everyone once in a while a cousin would ask to sit at the table only to get denied. We were either too young or there simply wasn’t enough room. There was definite separation – not of love or respect but of honor.
Fully grown I see things with a little more perspective. The dining room table on the first floor wasn’t in a whole lot better shape than our “kid” table. The chairs were worn as was the tablecloth. While the china was beautiful, there was nothing exceptional about it. The conversation was not of a better quality. Hindsight has taught me that it was usually full of either jokes or heavy family topics that couldn’t be discussed in front of children. The topics didn’t keep the world turning. They did little more than help our parents grieve and cope with frustrations together. However, there was still a scenario that was presented that the adults were given the place of honor during the meal. As children, we aspired to be like our parents. We wanted to be more like them for many reasons but also because we wanted that place of honor.
In our Leviticus reading the word “holy” is used seventeen times. I notice that each time it is used God is primarily describing himself or a characteristic of something as a result of His person. What do I get from that? God considers Himself and His ways to be perfect and righteous.
I think it’s easy to browse through Leviticus 21-22 and be knocked out by the tedious rules that were given to the people. It’s easy to immediately decide which rules in our eyes are fair or ridiculous. What is the idea behind the rules? God is holy.
I’m looking at Leviticus 22:17-31.If I paraphrase this section, it is about God demanding the best. Why? He is holy.
Leviticus 22:1-16. Again if I were to paraphrase this section, only a select few that are in God’s service are allowed to eat from the offerings made to the Lord. Why? God is holy and therefore the offerings made according to His ways are holy.
Everything that flows from these two chapters is written with practices to remind the Israelite that they serve a God of power, of perfection, of honor. The daily life of the Israelite was set to look at the adult table of their God. Their/Our God is not satisfied with thinking that He is the God of the kid table. However, looking at the person of Christ with Lent coming up we are also reminded that the God of the adult table was not above sitting at the kid table. He is the Lord who makes us holy.
The thoughts I’m left with today are:
1) What actions do I perform daily to show that my God is holy?
2) How do I aspire to be like Christ?
3) What am I doing in my life that is “good” but not my “best” for God?