A Clean Slate
Today’s scripture selection: Leviticus 13-15
Key verses: Leviticus 14:19
“Then the priest is to sacrifice the sin offering and make atonement for the one to be cleansed from their uncleanness.”
It’s all about getting “clean.”
Chapter after chapter of very specific laws and regulation, addressing every kind of ceremonial uncleanness – that’s what Leviticus is about.
If you ask me, it’s one of the easiest books in the Bible to just skip over. It’s so easy to say it just “doesn’t apply.”
But that isn’t entirely true.
Sure, I don’t feel the need to take a lamb or a small bird to a priest and have it slaughtered to get “right” with God.
But the idea of regularly checking in with myself – and with God – to make sure that I have not wandered off in a direction that is harmful to me and others – that’s well worth doing.
In my particular religious tradition there is little formal confession. I don’t sit down in a small cubicle with a screen separating me from my parishioners and listen as they get their failings and sins off their chest. I don’t provide atonement – not in a strictly formal way.
But I do “hear confession” on a regular basis.
I do often sit with people who are in great pain over the ways they feel alienated from God – especially when they are honest about how they have often alienated themselves from God. I do try to share the hope of God’s love and forgiveness and grace with them. I do pray with them and celebrate with them that, once again, they have a “clean slate.”
And the atonement part?
That’s been taken care of by God himself.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, hear my confession, and absolve me of my sin – that I may be more faithful in the future. 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
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