I love jumping into the Bible. It is so much more fun than being a biblical spectator silently identifying the bad guy, rolling my eyes at the stupid guys and weeping over the least, lost and left out. So let’s take a ride back in time and throw ourselves into the Old Testament book of Zechariah.
Zechariah 3 provides beautiful imagery of Christ in his Old Testament visions and prophesies. Since Zechariah is already a bystander, and since some of my followers are clergy and all are “reformed” sinners, let’s put ourselves in the sandals of Joshua, the high priest.
Throughout the Bible, God, particularly Jesus, seems really hard on priests. Christ always seems to talk bad about the clergy, identifying their mistakes and chastising them for keeping the rules but missing the grace. What often gets lost in the translation or sermon is – love. We hear the rebuke, feel the sting and hope we never experience the wrath of God.
Truth be told, if you’re reading this blog, as a sister of Christ, you’ve already been reformed into the priesthood of Christ. You may reject the collar but despite our baptism, we all mess up, getting those beautiful white linens washed clean during baptism dirty! Yuck!
Just like Joshua, we are impure priests. And as a congregation, we are often harder on the clergy, and ourselves, expecting a perfect, sinless trail from our baptism forward.
Sometimes I feel like I’ve mess up so bad I can’t imagine how I’ll ever find my way back. And wonder why would God even want me back. I know better! But I still screwed up.
So how are we made clean again, if we have but one baptism? I think God tells us through Zechariah’s vision, let’s begin –
The Angel showed Zecharia the following vision:
I, the high priest was standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan was standing at his right side to accuse me.
The LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebukes you, Satan! The LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebukes you! Is not this woman a burning stick snatched from the fire?”
Now I was dressed in filthy clothes as I stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off her filthy clothes.”
(Not fond of being stripped naked in front of a crowd but I’ll go for it, for scripture sake)
Then the LORD said to me, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.”
Then Zechariah said, “Put a clean turban on her head.” So they put a clean turban on my head (gotta love a new hat – Thank you Zechariah!) and clothed me, while the angel of the LORD stood by.
The angel of the LORD gave this charge to me: “This is what the LORD Almighty says: “‘…Listen, High Priest KAREN (insert your name) … I am going to bring my servant (Jesus) and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day. (The Cross)
“‘In that day each of you will invite your neighbor to sit under your vine and fig tree,’ declares the LORD Almighty.”