Frozen Food Month? Doesn’t that make you want to go out and celebrate? Let’s all say, “Amen” for Frozen Food! Some cooking impaired guy like me must have come up with that idea. Worse yet, according to national calendars, March 19 has as its only distinction (my apologies to all of you celebrating birthdays today) that the swallows of San Juan Capistrano may or may not return to that island today.
Do you mean to tell me that God has avoided doing fun, meaningful, or cool stuff in March? Not according to today’s readings. God is always active and wants us to take notice and then remember and celebrate his actions.
For the second day in a row, Rev. Eugene Scott is acting in my stead as guest blogger…and doing a great job. Thanks Eugene.
INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS
Numbers 28:16-29:40. God seems to love a good party. This passage is God’s instruction for Israel (and us) to plan festivals and holidays in order to draw near to and remember him. But these parties are not just for our benefit. The phrase “an aroma pleasing to God” refers to the smoke from the offerings (think of a barbeque) ascending to heaven which brings God joy. The book of Revelation then points to this picture and says the smoke refers to our prayers (Revelation 5:8, 8:3). God enjoys our prayerful, celebratory interaction with him.
Luke 3:23-38. This passage is more than a cosmic version of trivial pursuit. God wants us to know that through the names of the generations, Jesus’ life and death and resurrection were planned from the very beginning and it holds meaning for all humanity.
Psalm 62:1-12. Some scholars believe the word “selah” means something like “God, make it so” and that the people in worship then raised their arms forming a “v” that would funnel their request to God into their beings. So they were asking God to be their all in all and then receiving it from him.
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THE WORD MADE FRESH
Canadians typically use the word “holiday” rather than “vacation” for the time they spend away from work, say at the beach. In his book “Your God Is Too Safe,” Canadian Mark Buchanan says these two words, depending on which you use, reveal how many of us view special seasons and events in our lives. The word “holiday,” Buchanan says, means to remember to make a day special or holy, while “vacation” means almost the opposite in that it has as its root “to vacate” or “make empty.” One holds the idea of adding meaning and the other subtracting.
Since reading that, I have begun calling my time away (say at the beach!) a holiday, with the intention of recognizing God and his love, grace, provision, and presence. I want my time away to add meaning rather than just to vacate the stress of work and daily life.
Now, before I go on holiday, I often ask God to help me see him in the landscape, people, events, and day-to-day happenings of that holiday. I also take my journal to record his answers. It has made even the most mundane trip richer.
Today’s reading in Numbers seems to show that we as humans have a tough time remembering to commemorate the significance of daily life and daily interaction with God. We vacate far easier than we “add to.” Therefore God tells us to place holy days, with complicated rites, into our schedules. Then in so doing maybe we can better “find rest in God alone” as Psalm 62 proclaims.
- What did you see and hear in today’s reading?
- Did you see any links between these four readings?
- What holidays mean the most to you and why?
- When do you best rest in God?
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Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, Colorado.