11 July 2013Leviticus 8:1-13, 30-36
"Then Moses took some of the anointing-oil and some of the blood that was on the altar and sprinkled them on Aaron and his vestments, and also on his sons and their vestments. Thus he consecrated Aaron and his vestments, and also his sons and their vestments." (v. 30)
Today's passage about the ordination of Aaron and his sons is full of ritual, whether it is what they are wearing, how they are dressed, the manner in which they are anointed, what they have to eat and how to eat it ... it seems to go on and on.
The clothes obviously set the priests apart from the rest of the congregation and some of the things have special significance. Regarding the Urim and Thummin (verse 8), the Hebrew word Urim begins with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet (aleph) and Thummin begins with the last (taw). They were sacred lots, which were often used in times of crisis to discern the will of God. The suggestion has been made that if Urim was in the majority, the answer was no, but if it was Thimmin then the answer was yes. However whatever the answer, it was seen as coming from God.
Last Sunday as part of the Methodist Conference ministers (both presbyters and deacons) were ordained. Their clothes were probably not so complicated, but it is a safe assumption that many new suits were purchased for the occasion - they were certainly special. The ritual and tradition would also have been less, but one important part is the congregation/Conference being asked whether the people presented before them are worthy to be ordained. The people respond with a standing vote of affirmation and the words "they are worthy". Those being ordained testify that this is one of the most moving parts of the day.
- What part does ritual and tradition play in your faith?
- What do you do to discern the will of God?
- How would you react if someone said that you are worthy?
- Spend some time today remembering in prayer those who were ordained last Sunday.