Mirrors and Sanctification

Exodus 38.8
They made the bronze basin and its bronze stand from the mirrors of the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting.

Reflection: Mirrors and Sanctification
By John Tillman

The first observation from today’s reading is that the women serving at the entrance to the tent of meeting gave up valuable hand-held devices, polished brass mirrors, to create a basin for ceremonial cleansing used by priests entering the tent of meeting. The modern analogy is obvious.

Can we be persuaded to give up, even for a short period of time, the valuable hand-held devices that reflect back to ourselves so much about us?

We pour our identity into our devices, and they give us back a river of reflective content. They show us an irresistible, aspirational self-portrait—just click “add to cart.” They sing us a song composed by an algorithm that knows us better than ourselves through granular data culled from our wants, lusts, and preferences.

Narcissus never faced such a captivating image. Sailors never heard such siren songs. No wonder we find it hard to turn away. No wonder we steer inexorably closer to shore.

It is appropriate that mirrors were transformed and used for ceremonial cleansing. Confession is self-reflective. May we follow the example of these women to transform our use of technology for spiritual purposes. May our devices cease to be vehicles of vanity or vain pursuits, but basins of reflective repentance and redemption.

The second observation today, is that the women who gave these gifts served in a special position at the entrance to the tent of meeting. Some, unwilling to admit that these women have a legitimate role in the tabernacle, translate the Hebrew tsaba’ as “assembled” rather than “served.” But even when tsaba’ is translated as assembled in other places, it is still in the context of official service, usually conscripted military service as in Jeremiah 52.25. Tsaba’s most common translation is to fight or defend.

Regardless of what their exact duties were, these women were not randomly gathering around the entrance. They were assembled for a purpose. Tsaba’ implies that they served in an official capacity and were conscripted in a manner similar to Levites or soldiers.

No one is exempt from being conscripted to serve, calling our communities to enter in and meet with Christ. Being sanctified through the washing of the Word, as with the water of the basin, is a prerequisite to our ministry.

Sanctify and transform your technology in ways that deliver the word of God to you. Our devotionals are just one part of that. Seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance to transform your interactions with all the technology you encounter.

Prayer: The Request for Presence
Send out your light and your truth, that they may lead me, and bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling;
That I may go to the altar of God, to the God of my joy and gladness; and on the harp I will give thanks to you, O God my God.  — Psalm 43.3-4

Today’s Readings
Exodus 38 (Listen – 4:23)
John 17 (Listen – 3:40)

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Read more from Where Judgment Falls
Eli’s sons were corrupt in the extreme. They stole from the offerings of the people, committing financial sins and threatening violence toward those who objected. They used their spiritual positions of power to manipulate and pressure women at the tabernacle for sexual favors.

Read more about Further up, Further in
In Christ, there is no priestly barrier—all are priests with him as our high priest. There is no genealogical barrier, for we are made sons and daughters in Christ. In Christ, there is not male or female, but we are one in him. In Christ there is no abled or disabled, for our weaknesses are transformed in his glory. In Christ racial barriers are destroyed and the division of Babel is reversed. In Christ nationalism is meaningless for we serve a King of Kings and have citizenship in a higher kingdom.

Making Him Known :: A Guided Prayer

John 17.26
I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.

Reflection: Making Him Known :: A Guided Prayer
By John Tillman

Making Christ known is the essence of Epiphany. When Christ’s identity is made known to the nations, our identity is made known as strangers and aliens in the world.

Today we read and pray through Christ’s prayer from John 17. May all the words of his prayer for us be fulfilled in his name.

Prayer for Unity and Love

We thank you, Lord, for your Advent.
We thank you for coming to us.
We thank you for your gift of life and joy.

You granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life…Now this is eternal life: that they know you…and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. — John 17.2-3

To know you, Lord, is eternal life.
May we be one, as you prayed, so that the world may know you.

I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. — John 17.13

We need your joy in all circumstances.
For we are hated by the world because of your word.

I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. — John 17.13-14

May your prayer for us be fulfilled, Jesus.

I pray for those who will believe…that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you…I will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them. — John 17.20-26

Through your Word we know you.
Through knowing you…
You put your glory in us.
You send your love through us.
You work your power in us.
And we can be one with you, one with the Father, and one with each other.

Father for the sake of your Name and the salvation of the nations…
Glorify your Son, Jesus Christ, through us no matter what we may suffer…
Show the world your love through us, no matter what it may cost us…
And help us make you known, no matter how much the world will hate us.

May your prayer for us, be fulfilled, Lord Jesus.
We pray in your Name…

On the second day of Christmas, Christians across the world celebrate the life of Saint John, referred to in scripture as, “the beloved disciple.”

Prayer: A Reading
This disciple is the one who vouches for these things and had written them down, and we know that his testimony is true. There was much else that Jesus did; if it were written down in detail, I do not suppose the world itself would hold all the books that would be written. — John 21:24-25

– Prayer from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Prayers from The Divine Hours available online and in print.

Today’s Readings
Zechariah 14 (Listen – 3:52)
John 17 (Listen – 3:48)

Additional Reading
Read More about Good and Pleasant Unity? A Prayer for Election Week
Even among God’s people, unity is described as “good” and “pleasant,” implying that it is not automatic or constant.

Read More about The Spirit of the Lord :: Epiphany
The Holy Spirit, paraklētos, who made Christ’s earthly body, now makes in our individual bodies Christ’s mind and spirit. But more powerfully, we are knit together as a community, The Church. into the physical body of Christ in the world.

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