Intimidating, Liberating Glory

Scripture Focus: Leviticus 9.4, 22-24
4 …For today the Lord will appear to you.’ ” 

22 Then Aaron lifted his hands toward the people and blessed them. And having sacrificed the sin offering, the burnt offering and the fellowship offering, he stepped down. 
23 Moses and Aaron then went into the tent of meeting. When they came out, they blessed the people; and the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people. 24 Fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the fat portions on the altar. And when all the people saw it, they shouted for joy and fell facedown. 

Reflection: Intimidating, Liberating Glory
By John Tillman

God’s glory can be intimidating.

The people had been too frightened to approach the God who appeared in glorious clouds on Sinai. They asked that this glorious God speak to them through Moses, not directly. Aaron had been too frightened to approach Moses when his face glowed after meeting with the Lord. God gave Moses only a glimpse of his glory, saying that Moses could not survive seeing God’s fully glorious face. But now at the dedication of the Tabernacle, came a unique and enlightening promise to all the people: “…the Lord will appear to you…”

After all of the liturgy, after all of the sacrifices, after all of the ceremony, after all of the rituals, after all the sacred foods, and the waiting, and the singing, and the performing of the actions prescribed…the people now can see the glory of the Lord.

If Moses saw only a glimpse, we can be sure that this “glory of God” which appeared to all the people was also just a portion of God’s full glorious presence. Even so, a shout burst from their lips. Even so, they fell on their faces in worship.

How much more so should we shout than they? 
How much more so should we prostrate ourselves than they? 

They beheld glory in a tabernacle built by their own human hands.  They beheld a formless, glorious presence they still could not touch or speak with. John says, The Word “tabernacled” with us and we beheld his glory. (John 1.14) We have the accounts of those who touched with their hands and saw with their eyes the tender, loving, human tabernacle of Jesus.

If those, like John, “beheld his glory,” so may we. Blessed are we who have not seen with our eyes but believe in our hearts. We see the glory of God when we gaze in the face of Jesus. We begin this gaze in prayer. We focus on the details of his features in scripture. We follow where his actions lead by obedience. 

Shouting for joy and falling facedown is the emotional posture of seeing the glory of the Lord. When we know the forgiveness of Jesus, God’s glory goes from intimidating to liberating, from terrifying to electrifying. When we fall at his feet, he will bid us rise. When we turn to him, he will send us to feed his sheep and be a light to the world.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Request for Presence
Show us the light of your countenance, O God, and come to us. — Psalm 67.1

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

Today’s Readings
Leviticus 9 (Listen – 3:18)
Psalms 10 (Listen – 2:13)

Read more about A Temple for Exiles
God is measuring out a temple of living stones which rest upon the chief cornerstone of Christ.

Read more about Bread and Oil
We are each a temple of the Holy Spirit. We are all priests serving under Jesus, our high priest.

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.