I found myself skimming the text of Leviticus, glancing through requirements and feasts and festivals. Several times, I tried to slow down and pay attention.
I noticed that offerings to the Lord were of unblemished animals.
20 You shall not offer anything that has a blemish, for it will not be acceptable for you. 21 And when anyone offers a sacrifice of peace offerings to the Lord to fulfill a vow or as a freewill offering from the herd or from the flock, to be accepted it must be perfect; there shall be no blemish in it.Leviticus 22:20-22, ESV
I noticed what made a person clean or unclean.
Acts also talks about what is clean or unclean. And perhaps that’s the lesson parallel, designed by the people who composed the reading plan.
But I just sort of stopped and noticed the perfection, the holiness, the intention, the celebration, and the posture of a people. I noticed a God’s opening arms and invitation. A call to fellowship. A holy convocation.
In my life of rush and schedules, I felt a sadness in not slowing. I felt a sadness of missing out on giving my best to God. He gets a hurried conversation on a commute. A cry out in frustration of a situation outside of my control. Where is the intention? Where is the celebration? Where is the fellowship? Is this a face of a spiritual survival mode? The bare minimum?
Lord, I want to feel the embrace of your open arms.
22 The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, 24 for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord.Acts 11:22-24, ESV
I notice Barnabas is full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. I notice his gladness.
Lord, I want to notice your grace. I want to be glad in this.
Lift up your heads, O gates!Psalm 24:9-10, ESV
And lift them up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts,
he is the King of glory!