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Origen Homilies on Leviticus | Cokesbury

No Delimiter — Square — [15]. Parens — Sort Canonically. None — Jhn KJV. Or perhaps before he speaks he shows her a little felt covered box that could contain within it only one thing, an engagement ring. That is the power of ritual. There is a right way to do things and the action gains power and meaning from it being done in that way. When the president is inaugurated in Washington D. That is ritual.

It would demean the office to do it at the half-time of a football game with some rock star asking the questions of office rather than the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. So the funerals of important people.

Chuck Smith :: Sermon Notes for Leviticus 16

It is ritual from start to finish and a recommendation of ritual: the ceremonious forms, so scrupulously observed, all add great power, meaning and significance to the event. Or think of Thanksgiving in the United States; again a ritual. Even what food is eaten at the table is largely determined by long-standing customs.

My mother once served ham for Thanksgiving and she never heard the end of it. She went to her grave complaining about the way she was treated that one Thanksgiving when she served ham! Or consider Christmas: the tree, the decoration of the house, the wrapping of presents, when they are opened Christmas eve or Christmas morning , and so on. It is one elaborate ceremony. And we could go on and on.

Standing and singing the national anthem at a ballgame, fireworks on the fourth of July, the marriage service, and on and on. We do them in much the same way according to long established practices. These are our rituals and they bind us together as a people and convey to us all a certain understanding of the importance and the meaning of things.

Rituals express, even below the level of our conscious reflection, the deep-seated convictions of people. Nathaniel Gutierrez was telling me the other day of calling on a family in a Peruvian village. Nathaniel and another fellow had been walking through the neighborhood talking to people about Christ and had come to this house. The people, according to the custom of the place, invited them in, had them wait while they collected food from their garden and prepared a meal for their guests — much like Abraham when visited by the three men in Genesis They were poor people by our standards but their understanding of the duties of hospitality led them without conscious reflection to provide a meal and a ready ear to their guests.

Perhaps not everyone in that part of Peru would do that, but a great many would precisely because it was behavior that had been deeply engrained in the pattern of their life by the repetition of this sort of welcome. Such a ritual of hospitality was second nature to them. They would have thought themselves to have failed to treat strangers properly had they not been hospitable in those particular ways.

One cannot escape ritual in human life, no matter when or where one encounters human life. It is universal in human experience. So it should come as no surprise that we find a great deal of ritual in the Bible: repeated ceremonies, formally organized behaviors that serve to express conviction and impress it on the hearts of all, including the rising generation. The fact that the Lord used the ritual life of the ancient near east, rituals that were easily understood and appreciated by the Israelites, should surprise no one.

The fact that he altered the rituals in some significant ways and invested them with an entirely new meaning proves that he understood rituals to be powerful to teach and to reinforce the fundamental convictions of true faith, to settle them into the bones, as it were. The grain offering was not an offering that secured atonement. When offered with the burnt offering it characteristically came second. One must first be put right with God, only then can true dedication follow. Justification precedes sanctification, as it does everywhere in the Bible.


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  5. The Christian life flows from the atonement that Christ made on the cross and is the only true and fit response to it that a person can make. Since Christ is your burnt offering and made atonement for you, Paul wrote in effect, now give your grain offering to him!

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    And I hope you all know and realize Sunday by Sunday that our ritual is designed to impress the same point upon our hearts, to drive it deep into our understanding of life, and then deeper past our understanding into the sub-structure of our thinking about life. We confess our sins and receive their forgiveness through the blood, the death and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ every Sunday before we ever make our commitments to the Lord or offer ourselves again and anew to him.

    The order of the gospel is essential to it s meaning. That is the order of life, the only order of life. And our ritual on Sunday mornings expresses that order and by its constant repetition that understanding of our relationship with God is settled deep in our hearts. But, as the grain offering reminds us, we must dedicate ourselves to the Lord; we must respond to his love and salvation with gratitude and service. The grain offering is not made unnecessary by the burnt offering; it is made inevitable by it. There must be the burnt offering and the grain offering just as there must be faith and obedience.

    That is the fundamental lesson of the grain offering and its place in Israelite ritual. But there is more communicated than just that and we are to understand these additional features of its view of believing life. Woven into the ritual are further lessons that likewise, taken together, form the structure of our faith and our understanding of reality.

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    Here we read about the priests being provided for. They drew their sustenance from the offerings brought to be temple; not entirely, to be sure, but significantly. And in some cases not only the priests were fed from the offerings but the people who brought them to the tabernacle or temple had a great feast as well. This, by the way, may well be a reason for the grain offerings that were turned into bread.