Friday, 12 August 2011

Aarons breastplate

Back to work today after ten days or so away hence the lack of recent blogs. I have been reading my Bible however, and out of the many things one could comment on - the wrap up of the Joseph story, the call of Moses, the exodus, ten commandments etc. the thing that struck me the most was the Exodus 28:29-30.

Undoubtedly, this is clouded by my sense of affiliation with Aaron the priest as i too am the religious leader of two communities, but even so it is remarkably special. Aaron's breastplate is made of all sorts of finery - it is a mix of all sorts of jewels and gems and its monetary value alone must be spectacular, let alone its appearance or significance to the community. I'm not all that fussed about the jewels though. What matters most to me, are the two sentences of conclusion to the description of the breastplate. Aaron is a key man in a key role. he was priest of the israelite community, he was the charged with officiating at all the key moments as a representative of God. But in order that Aaron never forgets this role, the other way, representing the people before God, he sees that his breastplate is a symbol of all Israel. In fact, he views it as whenever he wears the breastplate he wears the names of the whole community over his heart before God. What an awesome statement. Whenever Aaron prepares for the finery and ceremony of his duties, he recalls that he performs all of these things with the people symbolically placed over his heart.

Now i'm, not into dresses and vestments etc at all, i'm a low churchman and proudly so, but to think that next time i slip the piece of plastic into my shirt collar i'm not just a representative of God and God's people but that actually i am to carry them in/over my heart before God's presence is a wonderful, precious and awesome responsibility.

Undoubtedly, this is a huge challenge for me as to my prayer life, but also to just being aware that i am charged in the aaronic tradition, to carry the names of 'my' communities before God, in His presence, over and within my heart.

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