Week 24 Monday

A Life of Sacrifice

Today’s scripture selection: Leviticus 1-3

Key verses: Leviticus 1:2

     If you are a sensitive soul, it makes for difficult reading: chapter after chapter, book after book, about bloody sacrifice.

     Although scholars disagree about the exact meaning and purpose of all the various sacrifices in the religion of the Hebrew people, they agree it was of central importance.  The idea of having an individual’s sins – or the people’s collective sin – wiped away or atoned for – this was at the heart of all the killing.

     It’s hard to imagine just how many animals have been slaughtered; how many offerings made – not just in the Hebrew faith – but in all the countless religions of the world.

     And, perhaps most poignant of all, central to the Christian faith is the proclamation that Jesus Christ, the “lamb of the world” was sacrificed on a cross for the entire world.

     It may be this very idea of atonement and, as the old hymn puts it, the “power in the blood” is the cause for many to turn away from the faith.

     But it can’t be denied; it can’t be watered down or explained away, though many have tried.

     I believe at the heart of the Christian faith is the unavoidable idea that God’s holiness and man’s “un-holiness” had to be somehow dealt with – that is, if God and man could be reconciled.  But, I don’t think it’s the story about an angry, vengeful God demanding blood from naughty children.

     I think it is a far more beautiful, and sad, story than that.

     It’s about a God who makes a way, holy and perfect as God is, to find some way to reach out to those who have turned from him time and again.  At the heart of the sacrifice – as repulsive and harsh as it is – is love.

And in response – our faith calls us to live lives of sacrifice ourselves – to give in love, to forgive again and again, to give until it hurts – to sacrifice – just as God sacrificed for us.


Prayer: Holy God, I thank you that in your grace you found a way to call your people back to you, time and again.  Help me to live sacrificially a life of service in your name.  AMEN.


By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: