Beloved of God:
In the centermost section of the Hebrew tabernacle, closed off by a heavy veil or curtain, was a room called the “Most Holy Place” or the “Holy of Holies,” where God’s presence was believed to reside with God’s people. The Most Holy Place was so holy, that it was only entered into once a year, and then only by the High Priest (Aaron), who came in only after strict ceremonial cleansing to offer a sacrifice for the atonement of the people’s sins.
As God was giving Moses the instructions for constructing the tabernacle, God told Moses that just outside of the veil that shields the entrance to the Most Holy Place, was to be placed a lampstand; and Aaron (and his sons) were to tend to the lamps on that stand every day, to make sure that they were kept burning day and night. Furthermore, tending to the lamps was not just the work of the priests, but “every Israelite was to bring clear oil of pressed olives so that the lamps could be kept burning” (Exodus 27:20).
As Christians, we long for that “beyond the veil” experience, where we stand in God’s presence. But, please understand that Aaron – High Priest that he was – didn’t get the once a year, beyond the veil experience without tending to the lamps at the entrance to the Holy of Holies every day. And just because Jesus removed the veil to God’s presence, doesn’t mean we simply stroll into God’s presence without the tedious work of feeding our inner lamp fresh oil every day.
The spiritual life has less to do with experiencing extraordinary moments, and much more to do with consistently tending to the everyday, ordinary things of life – like loving our neighbor, welcoming the stranger, extending grace to the sinful, valuing in the outcast, forgiving those who have wronged us, making peace with our enemy, living with gratitude for everything and finding joy in the simple things. Your ordinary life is the doorway to the holy.
Beloved of God: