February 11: discipline (Leviticus 15-17; Acts 18)

I’ll be honest. When I opened to Leviticus and saw the chapter heading “discharges causing uncleanness”, I thought, “do I really need to read this.” Haven’t I read enough already about clean and unclean and sacrifice with the splashing of blood. I really think I’ve read enough. Why not skip today’s reading. Is reading just for the sake of reading a worthwhile practice?

Practice is what it takes to develop a discipline. Every day may not bring an awesome spiritual insight, but if I give up because today’s or yesterday’s reading doesn’t do much for me, then I will miss tomorrow and tomorrow may be the break thru. My real reason for taking time each morning is to devote this time to my relationship with God. As I open myself to the scripture, I am also opening myself to God. So I began reading.

And then I saw it! Leviticus 17:11- For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life. Atonement: at-one-ment; being connected to God. At the Last Supper, Jesus referenced these words when he took the cup and said, This is my blood of the covenant which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins (Matthew 26:28). What the Jews were instructed to do once a year in the sacrifice of atonement and releasing the scapegoat that carried away their sins, Christ has done for us once and for all time. And whenever we gather to eat the bread and drink from the cup, I remember what Christ has done for me.

And then I remembered this prayer from my childhood that was said before we took communion (a prayer for atonement): We do not presume to come to this thy table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy table. But thou art the same Lord, whose property is always to have mercy. Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to partake of this Sacrament of thy Son Jesus Christ, that we may walk in newness of life, may grow into his likeness, and may evermore dwell in him, and he in us. Amen.

I am so glad that I ignored my first inclination this morning and kept reading. God is good!

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