I love dogs! Even the small, yappy dogs are fun. Truth be known, I really love BIG DOGS. My favorite dog, the one I cried over and mourned after he died, was a Mastiff-St Bernard cross. He was big, fluffy, and dopey. He was gentle, slobbery, and would let children try to ride him around. If you have ever watched a Mastiff compete in a dog show, it is entertaining if not laughter producing. They think with their stomachs and are not much for doing anything quickly. I identify with those dogs. Fun loving but not super disciplined unless it comes to what is important to me.
Leviticus 8:1-17 is a difficult passage simply because it is about a very formal process of consecrating Aaron, Moses’ brother, and his sons to be priests, those who will be in charge of the temple and worship of the LORD. Like much of the language in Leviticus, it can seem like a dog show for the people of Israel to do certain things in certain ways and have it be considered right and true. Even those of us who grew up in formal congregations where you knew what the order of worship was every week. Many of us today do not find much value in formal worship, but much of that is we fail to understand what role we play in the priesthood or even what priesthood is about.
The priest is a leader in worshiping God, thanking Him for His provision, offering sacrifice, and restoring order to our lives. While Israel had been a people with an identity, they had long forgotten Who made them who they were and Who promised them a future. Aaron and his sons were no exception but they were called to be leaders, so they were the first ones to be consecrated and purified were them. We should remember that Aaron was not perfect and had much about himself to learn in order to become what he was called to be.
In 1 Peter 2:4-10, Peter details who we are in the grand scheme of the Church. While many of us remember the parts about being “a royal priesthood”, Peter also asserts that our lives are about being the stones the Church is based on. We are not just random stones with no identity, we are part of the “royal priesthood” he famously mentioned in which the Church is being built upon.
We should aspire to be leaders, having first been purified through Christ’s blood, so that we may lead others to be holy and devoted as they realize their identity in Christ. It is important for each of us to recognize that while the cornerstone is Christ, the Chief Priest, each stone needs to be strong, made of the same substance and purity as the cornerstone. We cannot fail to realize that we are not just pebbles that are being held together by concrete or clay, we are stones. When we accept Christ and He makes us like Him, we are stones that have a unique shape, size, and strength, and we fit into the structural plan for Christ’s Church in specific ways.
We no longer live under the Law if we are in Christ, not that the Law does not apply, but because we are able to speak to God directly because of our intimacy with Christ. We are able to be purified from our sins and be forgiven through that same relationship. We are no longer strangers, we are sons and daughters of the Most High King. We are a priesthood, set apart to help bring others to Christ, stepping stones to the humble and a stumbling block to the proud.
When we grasp the truth that our lives are not meant to be like everyone else, we are called to lead and care for others, we stop living according to a rigid structure of “rights and wrongs”, choreographed steps, and begin living in the light of Christ. We begin simply living as Christ lived, speaking as He spoke, changing lives with the power He wielded with love and grace. This week, look to how you might change what has motivated your steps so far, and begin looking for ways to walk in the same footsteps as Jesus did and walking in ways that build up Christ in others.
Is my life aspiring to be made like Christ or just a better “me”?
Do I strive to work as one with Christ, or do I insist on doing my own thing?