2020 Lent devotion #12 – The horns of the altar
“You shall make an altar on which to burn incense; you shall make it of acacia wood. A cubit shall be its length, and a cubit its breadth. It shall be square, and two cubits shall be its height. Its horns shall be of one piece with it. You shall overlay it with pure gold, its top and around its sides and its horns. (Exodus 30:1-3)
“Aaron shall make atonement on its horns once a year. With the blood of the sin offering of atonement he shall make atonement for it once in the year throughout your generations. It is most holy to the Lord.” (Exodus 30:10)
Even the furnishings for the tabernacle were consecrated with blood from a sin offering. It was “most holy to the Lord,” that is, set apart for no other use than worship.
Every once in a while I’ll catch someone casually using the baptismal font in our sanctuary as a table for their water bottle or a pile of worship folders. I try not to overreact. I just gently relocate the items for them. It’s not a coffee table, folks. It’s for the sacrament! Similarly, I will sometimes find microphones, staplers or binders on the sanctuary altar. Once again, I have to straighten things up. It’s not a workbench or a craft table, folks. It’s for the sacrament!
The idea of “sacred space” is an important reminder that our God is holy. The quality of holiness sets him apart from every other person, place or thing in a sin infested world. Made holy by the blood of Christ, we can enter that space and we can worship him.
That space may be a church building. But it may also be a hospital room where a family prays for healing. Or a child’s room where bedtime prayers are spoken. Or a quiet cemetery anticipating the day of our Lord’s return. Or a dinner table where a couple thanks God for the meal.
Pay attention to the sacred spaces you find yourself in. Keep them holy, for the Lord your God is holy!
Lord, don’t ever let me take sacred space for granted. Amen.