Rushing into the Sacred The Francis Chan Conversation, part 3
By Jonathan Allen, Wednesday 29th May 2019 at 2:38pm
In parashat B’Midbar, the Levites are commanded to camp around the Tabernacle, rather like a layer of insulation, to stop the Israelites from just rushing into God’s presence without thinking or in the wrong state. Francis Chan picks up from there for people today:
We live in a world where people carelessly rush into things. If we don’t rush, we will be passed up and miss out. So we frantically follow the pattern of the world and ignore the fact that God calls us to act differently. Productivity is no sin, but when it comes to the sacred, God commands us to proceed with caution. Others may treat these things as common, but we cannot. While others quickly judge God’s actions and question His commands, we are to be careful even to speak His name. We don’t carelessly question His actions or inaction. Instead we pray, “Hallowed by Your name” (Matt 6:9; Luke 11:2). While others rush into prayer with opinions and demands, we cautiously approach His throne in reverence. Like the High Priest entering the Holy of Holies, we are to treat prayer as sacred.
Do you resonate with that? Can you feel where he is coming from?
Have you ever rushed into the Sanctuary for services, in a hurry because you know you’re a bit late, swallowing the last mouthful of breakfast that you tried to eat in the car as you drove in to schul? And before you’ve really caught your breath the singing has started. You haven’t had time to say “Shabbat Shalom!” to the person sitting next to you, let alone to God who is actually much more important and the One you have really come to schul for.
It is my personal experience (speaking at least in part for myself here) that we often don’t take the time to prepare our hearts to meet with God and so, we often don’t meet with God. We may have been in a service, a prayer meeting, or our quiet time, but we haven’t actually met with God.
What do you think? How might we change our habits and practice so as to be intentional about being aware of the sacred – sacred space, sacred time – and being guided by the Spirit so that we do meet with and encounter God?