Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
It is a fearful thing to approach the God of all. I often shake my head in wonderment at the people who say they want a face to face, unmediated encounter with God. Really? We cannot stand before God, certainly not at our own invitation.
In Exodus 24, God has invited Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and seventy elders of Israel into his presence. Before they can approach God, they need to hear God's Word, they need to see once again the reality of death in the death of some sacrificial animals, and they need to be associated with that death, through the placing of blood upon themselves. Not only this, but the work seems to be applied to all the people of Israel.
We only approach God at his command, and it is required that we be made holy to do so.
What does this have to do with a New Testament understanding of the world? God in Christ has called us to approach him and receive his mercy. We do that through faithful hearing of the Word of God, assenting to it. We confess that we agree with the Scripture, which describes us as sinners and God as the holy one who forgives sinners by his own mercy. We approach God in Christ through Christ's death on our behalf. He is the sacrificial lamb who shed his blood so as to make us holy. And we come find him where he promises to be - present for us in Word and Sacrament.
In this way we, like the leaders of Israel, come before the Lord of all, we eat and we drink, and we are not harmed.
God's mercy calls us to approach him, then. We do it not alone, but with Christ as our mediator.
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