Leviticus 7–9, Psalm 33, Mark 6
I have just finished reading Kierkegaard’s Purity of Heart Is to Will One Thing. This book talks about the importance of preparation for confession: preparation for an encounter with God. Putting oneself in the right kind of frame of mind, desiring nothing but God. Putting oneself in a position to receive the one thing that is needful.
However, the readings for today go to town in discussing the preparation for delivering God’s mercy; in fact, delivering God to his people. We talk a lot about the recipients of God’s presence, but seldom talk about the preparation needed to be the vessel through which the means of grace flow. Think of all the things that Aaron had to go through in his ordination—clothing, cleansing, anointing with both oil and blood, and then seven days in the presence of God—all this to make him fit to be the priest that he was called to be. On the eighth day, as Aaron was to offer the sacrifices for his people, he also needed to make offerings for himself. Only then was he worthy to be the vessel through which the grace of God flowed.
Those of us whose calling and “job” it is to bless others have a tendency to get so used to it all that we neglect to follow the orders and directions and all the “pain and trouble” it takes for us to be truly worthy of that calling. Not that we can make ourselves worthy by “works” of obedience, but a little care and a little preparation and lots of obedience make all the difference—accoutrements and all. In Mark 6, Jesus’s disciples put themselves in a position to be used by God through obedience. Very different from Aaron and his sons: the disciples were ordered to take nothing save the clothes on their backs. No accoutrements; just obedience! As Marks tells us, “they drove out demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them” (Mark 6:13).
In what other ways do biblical characters prepare to be the vehicles for God’s grace?
How do we prepare for blessing others?
Oh God of grace, prepare me to receive your grace so that I can be fit to share it with others; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
-The Rt. Rev. James Tengatenga
Bishop of Southern Malawi