Awhile back I had surgery on my shoulder. Picture the surgeon standing there in his regular clothes, no mask, no gown, no telescoped glasses and with nothing in his hands. Now, how is he supposed to do surgery with nothing in his hand? That is not how I want to picture my surgeon. Let’s fill his hands with whatever he needs to do the job; let’s put the mask and gown on so there is less chance of infection. And I definitely don’t want to picture a cartoonish doctor with a meat cleaver or chainsaw in his hand. Continue reading

Holy Clothes

Years ago I heard a preacher use God’s instructions concerning priestly garments as means to beat people over the head for not dressing up on Sunday morning. I mean some of the people were wearing jeans on a Sunday morning. I wonder if some of those jeans were holey. This brings up an important rule of interpretation. Continue reading

The Courtyard

Sometimes our culture influences our approach to God. Have you noticed? God commanded the construction of a courtyard in which the Tabernacle or dwelling of God would be housed. Importantly, there is one courtyard. There is no Court of Women or Court of Gentiles. Nope. Not even a hint of these other courtyards which seemed to pop up by the time of Jesus. And the very existence of these courtyards is to communicate that the men of Israel were better than the women of Israel who were better than any Gentile any day. Continue reading

The Altar

Should you drive through flowing water? Hm, well . . . where and under what circumstances? If we’re talking about a flash flood flowing over a street and you are not in immediate danger, don’t drive through it. Too many have been swept off of roads under those circumstances. But if you are going to drive in the country of Honduras, you are going to either drive through some rivers or not go anywhere. Continue reading

The Tabernacle

When I was a child, my family moved around quite a lot. I don’t think I went to any school more than two years. I was always leaving behind friends. For awhile, we went to the same church and that was cool because some of my cousins also attended that church. But then we moved away and once again I was leaving the familiar people for people who were strangers. I mean other than my family who were a completely different kind of strange. Continue reading

The Menorah

On our trip back from Washington State, we stopped to explore the Lewis and Clark caverns in Montana. After descending into the mountain, our guide asked us to turn off anything that might produce light. Then she turned off the lights in the cavern, with only a lantern being lit. It was considerably darker, but manageable. Continue reading

Before the Face of God

When I was little I heard my mother say on occasion, “Why, that guy thinks he’s God’s gift to women.” You know the type, don’t you? They strut around women acting as if their mere presence is enough to cause women everywhere to swoon and drop to their knees thanking God for such a wonderful specimen of pure manliness. Continue reading

The Ark Symbol

The wedding ring, a circle with no end, symbolizes unending relationship. Right? What about the gold? Can the gold represent purity within the relationship? I’ve heard it both ways. Can it also symbolize commitment and promise? Well, yeah! And if we try to narrow the symbol down to one thing, will we miss some of the importance of the symbol? Continue reading

Sacred Space

Think of the most important, powerful, and well respected person in the world. Let’s say this person is so wealthy and powerful and good, that you are a bit awed by them. Now, what if he or she told you that they are coming to live with you; camping out in your house for as long as you have life? Would you fix up a room? Would you completely redo the whole house? Continue reading

Consuming Fire

As the Israelites camped at the foot of Mount Sinai; as their leaders were somewhere up on that mountain; as Moses had climbed even higher up, they witnessed a cloud cover the mountain and then from their vantage point it looked as if a consuming fire was consuming and devouring the top of the mountain. And that is what Moses had walked into; a devouring fire; the very glory of Yahweh. And if Yahweh showed up today to have a sit down meeting with us, he would still be a consuming fire. God’s nature has not changed. Continue reading