Saturday, January 23, 2010

Priest as Butcher

Yearly Reading: Exodus 40- Leviticus 3

He shall tear it open by its wings without severing it. Then the priest shall turn it into smoke on the altar, on the wood that is on the fire; it is a burnt offering, an offering by fire of pleasing odor to the Lord. Leviticus 1:17 NRSV

Today's reading is pretty grisly.

I am struck anew by how much the Levitical priest had to be a butcher. No wonder those that had the stomachs to kill their relatives were chosen for the priesthood: this is not a calling for the faint of heart.

Blood, guts, knives and - in this passage - pure strength were necessary to offer pleasing and right sacrifices and odors to God. Specific animal parts were offered. Some had to be washed, some had to be burned and others were sent to the trash heap. Blood was carefully used as a means of atonement and cleansing.

Today's Christian priest or pastor knows nothing about slaughtering. Today's Christian is not bound to bring and animal for sacrifice to the altar. Thanks be to God that Jesus gave up his own body and his blood so that we can be made right with God without the animal sacrifices!

Thank you, Jesus, for your sacrifice that has replaced the need for butchering on an altar. May we live as your people redeemed by your blood! Amen.

Copyright 2010 Amelia G. Sims

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