A Montrose Church Lent Devotional by Pastor Rick
Lent Day 29
Today's reading: Exodus 40:1-15
Exodus 40 is a curious chapter of Scripture to those of us living many centuries later and half a world away from the event described therein. To understand it all demands of us that we not come at it through the eyes of 21st century readers. Somehow, we must attempt to place ourselves into the first context and seek to embrace the story from within. It helps us know that God was creating a people for Himself, a nomad people, in a particular time and place. It was a work in progress, a people in progress, if you would. It was a journey of "baby steps," moving the people from being a slave people to a people rooted and ground in the Creator-God of the universe.
In reading Exodus 40 one is confronted by two overarching truths, (1) the people became a people because of God’s covenant relationship with them, and (2) the people were a people embraced by the fact that God was in their midst. The worship of God was at the center of all they were. Even in the desert God led them to prepare a place of worship, "the tabernacle, the tent of meeting" (v. 2). The tabernacle was set up in such a way that everyday the people would see it and know God was with them. It was a sacred place, set aside for the presence of Almighty God.
When I reflect on this chapter in our Lenten journey, I am confronted by the fact that God is present with His people. He was present then and He is present now. Today God is present in His people, making us aware of many things, one of them being that we are in covenant relationship with God today. God is present by His Holy Spirit, leading and guiding and shaping and forming and redeeming His people to be His people in a world that is distracted from the reality of God.
In Lent we are challenged to live our lives with God at the very center. We are called to take God seriously, to embrace His grace and love, and to live for His glory and honor. We are called to Jesus in a time when an unending number of influences around us would lead us away from Him. We are called to an honest self-evaluation, a call to examination, and a call to remember that we are God’s people. We live and move and have our being in God. We live in the world and seek to be faithful there, but we get our marching orders from God who lives in our midst and in our very lives.
May God help us to have passion for nothing less than His kingdom and His will. May God help us to be what He would have us be. Hear this prayer for the "Sarum Rite," of the eleventh century.
O Lord, feed your people with your grace, and deliver our souls from the death of sin. Fill us with your mercy, that we may be united with the joys of the righteous; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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