Week 31: Holy Time

Week 31: Holy Time

Today’s Text: Leviticus 22-24

Key Text: Leviticus 23:1-2

“The LORD said to Moses, ‘Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘These are my appointed festivals, the appointed festivals of the LORD, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies.’”

Along with all the “rules and regulations” that you find in the Book of Leviticus – you also find very specific instruction on how God’s people were to hold various “sacred assemblies.”

  • The Sabbath
  • Passover
  • The Feast of Unleavened Bread
  • Offering of the first fruits of the harvest
  • Pentecost
  • The Blowing of Trumpets
  • The Day of Atonement
  • The Feast of Tabernacles

In all these ways, the people were to recognize some aspect of their life with – and dependence upon – the LORD God.

What about us today?

Some churches recognize “Holy Time” – the seasons of the Church year – while others see it as too much pomp and circumstance.

More and more churches are moving toward a relaxed, “contemporary” and casual form of worship.

While I understand and appreciate that all things change, the trend does concern me.

We must be careful that we don’t forget that “sacred assemblies” need to be just that – sacred.

We need to be careful that, while we don’t “do religion” for religion’s sake alone – we also make a place, a sacred place, in our daily practice – and in our hearts – a place of great reverence for God.

Sometimes, I can’t help but think we fly a little too freely and “loose” when it comes to worship these days.

Ritual must never take the place of deep, spontaneous, sincere worship.

But whatever’s popular on any given “season” mustn’t dictate our pattern and practice of worship.

Let the fashion industry change their world every fall and spring season.

Let the Church have its “holy time” that remains – year in, year out – as long as God sees fit.

“Holy, Holy, Holy – Lord God Almighty…”

Has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

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 for “expectant hope.” 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, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. 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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