Saturday, November 02, 2013

This week's lesson: the Day of Atonement

Even the Sanctuary needed cleaning.

364 days of the year, remember, the Sanctuary was the place where everything else got fixed -- the one place where every sin could be forgiven and every relationships restored. Yes, even in a broken world, it was a place of wholeness; even in a fallen world, it was a place of holiness.

But on one day of the year, the Sanctuary closed for repairs: spiritual repairs. And it did not open again for business until an elaborate ritual of cleansing had been finished -- the ritual we call the Day of Atonement.

Now if this was true of the Sanctuary . . .
  • Then maybe we shouldn't be surprised when our "sanctuaries" need cleaning.
  • Yes, maybe we shouldn't be surprised when we need time for rest, reflection, and repair.
  • And if the ministries of our church need to be shut down for repairs -- to be shut down until they are places of forgiveness and reconciliation, to be shut down until they are both whole and holy once more . . 
Then there's good precedent for this.
Yes, even the Sanctuary needed atonement.

1 comment:

Pastor Greg said...

As you teach this week's lesson, you could go through each and every ceremony that took place on the Day of Atonement, explain its Christological significance, and apply it to the lives of your class members today.

And the lesson itself does just that -- especially when it comes to the role of the scapegoat, Azazel.

Unfortunately, not everyone finds this interesting.

Then too, any discussion of Azazel tends to leave class members with the impression that Satan is our sin-bearer -- and as such, he plays an important role in our salvation. Trust me: YOU DO NOT WANT TO GO THERE!!!

That's why I'd suggest you focus, not on the furniture, but on the function of the Day of Atonement.