Thursday, June 21, 2012

June Devotion

Today’s Reading | 2 Chronicles 8–9Psalm 72  
Text for this reflection | 2 Chronicles 8:12–14  
Always with the burnt offerings! One thing that has stuck out to me so far while participating in the “Reading the Entire Bible in a Year” jouney is that the Israelite’s default worship mechanism seems to be burnt offerings. This is something that I was aware of prior to embarking on this year-long endeavor, but it nevertheless manages to amaze me. I can imagine Solomon saying the words of Psalm 72 during his offering, but I have a hard time putting myself in Solomon’s shoes. I can’t picture myself getting the same spiritual renewal from burnt offerings as I do from a more modern-day “traditional” service, such as a TaizĂ© service.   
When thinking about the practice of burnt offerings, I also can’t help but think about how the Israelites would react if they witnessed how we worship today. I am sure they would find our religious practices just as strange as we sometimes view theirs. Yes, there is much to be said for public displays of faith, like burnt offerings or attending church every Sunday. However, it is repeated throughout the Bible that God did not just want burnt offerings. Instead, these early worshipers were asked to simply keep their covenants with God.  
I am not saying that God wants us to skip out on the Sunday morning worship services. On the contrary, I believe that worshiping alongside others is an important aspect of being a Christian. But attendance alone is not enough—we must put into practice what is heard from the pulpit.   
Gracious God, thank you for a world that is filled with diverse religious practices and for the rich history of our ancestors. Please help me remember to not take a passive role, but instead to be active in my faith. In your Son’s holy name. Amen. 

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