Thursday, January 21, 2010

I was reading from Leviticus...

Do we interpret the New Testament by the Old Testament or is it the other way around? You can hear adamant answers for each view but most people would probably give an honest, "I do not know."

Do we have to know? Are we supposed to know? Is it one or the other? Are the OT and the NT really separate or is there a back and forth flow of understanding and insight?

I used to dread reading from Leviticus, not because of its theme of and call for holiness but because I thought it was boring and irrelevant since so much of it pertained to sacrifices which we do not do anymore. But God began to speak to me through this book a number of years ago and now I treasure it. Part of my reading this morning was from Leviticus 21 and, while reading, my head began to fill with other passages and connections that I knew were being put together in my spirit by God. It was not just making sense – it was causing me to worship.

Consider the following and how they are connected: The regulations, etc. of the priests from whom the High Priest was chosen who would go into the Holy of Holies each year and stand before God on behalf of the people; the application of blood from the sacrificed animal onto the altar and the persons seeking forgiveness; God's declaration that "the life is in the blood"; God's command for us to be holy because He is holy; the blood that was applied during the original passover; the danger of the High Priest being unholy or disobeying God while in the Holy of Holies; Jesus' revelation to His disciples during the first Lord's Supper of "this is my body, which is given for you" and "this cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood"; John the Baptist's declaration of, "Look! It's the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!"; the veil that separated mankind from God in the Sanctuary and Holy of Holies that only the High Priest could go through; the tearing of the veil, from top to bottom, when Jesus died on the cross for our sins, thereby removing the barrier between God and man; that the word "for" in "this cup that is poured out for you" is the word "huper" and it means "over" which itself can have a double meaning ("onto" and "in behalf of"; and Hebrews 4:14-5:10.

I am sure there was even more but it was/is evident to me that God does not set up one testament over the other as if He has two sets of scripture and one is subordinate to the other. We do not have to understand it. It is okay. As my friend and fellow pastor, Brian Kimball, said, "In those days [Bible times] it was perfectly acceptable to say, 'It is a mystery.' Why can't we say that today?"

This I know: What I could grasp caused me to be in awe and to worship God. What was beyond my grasp did the same.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Great Trip!

The 35th Anniversary Celebration Trip finally arrived and it was great! Although it was arranged to mostly duplicate the 30th Anniversary trip, it felt like a completely different experience – not better or worse, but different. Besides that fact that we all live in different houses, go to different churches than we did in 2004, and all of us changed jobs, job titles, or employment status, there were many differences on the trip itself.
Some notable and maybe not-so-notable differences:
  • We went straight to Orlando instead of to the Herrons for Thanksgiving before traveling together to Orlando.
  • No blisters on my feet!
  • We travelled on Sunday to go to church with Osa Marie Wittenmyer and Terry.
  • Danny and I did get our haircut at the Harmony Barbershop on Main Street U.S.A. in the Magic Kingdom this time.
  • I did not gain 20 pounds. In fact, I did not gain any weight!
  • The parks were more crowded this time.
  • We went on Expedition Everest (and I almost lost my cookies).
  • We went to Blizzard Beach and came away bruised (and I went on Summit Plummet twice).
  • Cathy and I spent a night at the All Star Movies "Resort" (as in, we needed a place to stay for our first night and, being tight-wads, that was our final resort).
  • We coughed up the bucks and went to "Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party."
  • We went on Toy Story Mania and LOVED IT!
  • We used Disney's Photo Pass (the verdict is still out on this).
  • We went on the new Finding Nemo ride which was much better than "Finding Nemo" on the submarines at Disneyland in California.
  • We toured the campsites at the Fort Wilderness Campground and checked out some great Christmas displays.
  • We saw the Stunt Car show at Hollywood Studios.
  • We wore "Anniversary" buttons and got treated with extra perks and greetings.
  • We went to the Hoop Dee Do Musical Review and Dinner Show. It was great except for the ending.
  • We went to the Candlelight Processional when Steven Curtis Chapman was the narrator.
  • We experienced Cirque du Soleil - La Nouba and it was great!
  • We went to the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral and saw a real astronaut.
  • We started the cruise wearing shirts made specially for the occasion.
  • We received perks on the boat for being Castaway Club members (repeat cruisers).
  • We saw a beautiful rainbow at sea.
  • We sailed in the Atlantic Ocean instead of just the Caribbean.
  • We toured Tortola, BVI and spent 2 1/2 glorious hours at a private beach.
  • We went to St. Thomas, USVI and rode the sky tram up to Paradise Point.
  • Some people did not get back to the boat on time and were left on St. Thomas.
  • We saw the Flying Dutchman, some stingrays, and an eel at Castaway Cay.
  • It rained on us at Castaway Cay and we went back to the boat early to watch "A Christmas Carol" in 3D.
  • We had a couples massage on the boat.
  • Cathy "beeped" at all the airport security checks because of her new knees.
  • I was able to post pictures and a total of nearly 3 hours of videos of the trip at:
Now, the trip I had anticipated and planned for five years is over. It is not something I look forward to anymore. It is a memory. Well, it is a lot of memories. But it is more than that because it also helped me to rest and get refreshed. So it still has value. And that is enough to begin planning the 40th Anniversary Celebration Trip in 2014. This time our kids are invited so I hope they started saving up!

But you know what was the most special thing about the trip? It was the reason for the trip in the first place: Being with Cathy.