Anointed Servants

Scripture Focus: Leviticus 8.6-9
6 Then Moses brought Aaron and his sons forward and washed them with water. 7 He put the tunic on Aaron, tied the sash around him, clothed him with the robe and put the ephod on him. He also fastened the ephod with a decorative waistband, which he tied around him. 8 He placed the breastpiece on him and put the Urim and Thummim in the breastpiece. 9 Then he placed the turban on Aaron’s head and set the gold plate, the sacred emblem, on the front of it, as the Lord commanded Moses.

Reflection: Anointed Servants
By John Tillman

It is not so much that “leaders serve” as that “servants lead.”

The Bible shows us not just moments of God-ordained goodness but of ruin, failure, and rebellion. Because of this, we cannot look at any leader’s actions in the Bible, other than Jesus, as a foolproof behavioral template. We cannot simply cut and paste “biblical” actions into our lives.

All mortals in scripture have moral skeletons in their closets. Moses has a literal skeleton, a victim of his rage, buried in the Egyptian sand. (Exodus 2.11-15) The miracle of the gospel is that murderers like Moses, and sinners like us, can be transformed into leaders that show what Jesus is like.

In the desert, God told Moses that he would make him like God to Pharaoh and Aaron would be his prophet. (Exodus 7.1) Here in the ceremony initiating Aaron’s priesthood, we see pictures of the entire Trinity, the disciples, and the church universal. The washing, the sacrificial meal, and the covenant of blood, stand as pre-visualizations of Jesus’ actions in the final days leading to the crucifixion.
Moses’s ceremonial actions show God initiating the work of sanctification out of love for the children he desired to call his own. Aaron shows us Jesus, our high priest, willingly stepping into the gap to open up a way for the children to return to God, their rightful father. In the fire, the oil, the incense, and the blood, we see the Holy Spirit, pervading our lives to make us holy. 

If the rituals required for the priests to pass through the closed curtain of the Tent of Meeting and minister before the Lord seem long and elaborate, we should remember the greater ritual which opened that same curtain for good. Jesus’ 33-year incarnation was a long, elaborate ritual which tore open the curtain of the Temple, allowing us to enter God’s presence.

Sometimes when we think of sacrifices, and especially of the cross, we think of God demanding to be “satisfied.” This is an incorrect/incomplete picture. God is not sitting back, vengeful and angry, hoping the Son suffers enough to calm his out-of-control temper. God initiates mercy—he doesn’t settle for it.

It is God who applies the sacrifice of the Lamb of God to our ears that we may hear God’s Word. God anoints our hands that they may serve as his own. God touches our feet that they may go where he wills.

God anoints us as servants in Christ. Servants lead.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Cry of the Church
Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ will come again.

– Divine Hours prayers from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle

Today’s Readings
Leviticus 8 (Listen – 5:06)
Psalms 9 (Listen – 2:21)

Read more about Priests of Life and Peace
As Christians and priests, may we maintain the new “covenant of life and peace” in Christ’s blood.

Read more about The Righteous Judge :: A Guided Prayer
May our highest, most prized right, be to stand before you.

The Righteous Judge :: A Guided Prayer

Psalm 9.7-8
The Lord reigns forever;
   he has established his throne for judgment.
He rules the world in righteousness
   and judges the peoples with equity.

From John:
Some scholars believe that Psalm nine and ten were originally one Psalm. Today we combine them in a prayer to God, the only righteous judge and the only one who dispenses justice without failing. May he hear the cries of all victims. May he bring every wrong-doing to light. May those who seek to cover their secrets have their plans exposed by his light and truth.

Reflection: The Righteous Judge :: A Guided Prayer
By John Tillman

May our highest, most prized right, be to stand before you.

For you have upheld my right and my cause,
   sitting enthroned as the righteous judge.

May we learn from you, true judgement.
Make us a part of bringing your kingdom, your justice and righteousness on earth.
And this is your justice on earth—to be a refuge and stronghold for the weak and troubled.

He rules the world in righteousness
   and judges the peoples with equity.
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,
   a stronghold in times of trouble…
   he does not ignore the cries of the afflicted.

The Lord is known by his acts of justice;
   the wicked are ensnared by the work of their hands.
But God will never forget the needy;
   the hope of the afflicted will never perish.
Arise, Lord, do not let mortals triumph;
   let the nations be judged in your presence.

The world hates us, because it first hated you, Lord.
Trouble comes to us in different ways and in different levels of severity, in every corner of this world, God.

Why, Lord, do you stand far off?
   Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak,
   who are caught in the schemes he devises.
He says to himself, “Nothing will ever shake me.”
   He swears, “No one will ever do me harm.”
His mouth is full of lies and threats;
   trouble and evil are under his tongue.

In times of trouble, Lord, we look to you.
Do not abandon us to the schemes of the wicked.

But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted;
   you consider their grief and take it in hand.
The victims commit themselves to you;
   you are the helper of the fatherless.
Break the arm of the wicked man;
   call the evildoer to account for his wickedness
   that would not otherwise be found out.

You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted;
   you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
   so that mere earthly mortals
   will never again strike terror.

We commit ourselves to you, O Lord.
See our trouble. Hear our cry. Take our grief.
Give us courage to shake the world with your love.

Prayer: The Morning Psalm
For God alone my soul in silence waits; truly, my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold, so that I shall not be shaken. — Psalm 62.6-14

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Leviticus 8 (Listen – 5:06) 
Psalm 9 (Listen – 2:21)

This Weekend’s Readings
Leviticus 9 (Listen – 3:18) Psalm 10 (Listen – 2:13)
Leviticus 10 (Listen – 3:25) Psalm 11-12 (Listen – 1:59)

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Read more about The Commission of Truth
We are acting according to our nature and our calling when we help facts come to light and when we stand up for truth and for truth-tellers.

Read more about Honoring The Truth
Seeking the truth is not only a spiritual quest. It is sometimes a civic one. Or a legal one. As followers of Christ, the Truth, we should ask, seek, and knock, not giving up until the truth is revealed.