February 25, 2007

Holy Days

Leviticus 23:1-8, 39-44

"These are my ... sacred assemblies." Leviticus 23:2


Imagine a year filled with days and weeks of holidays. These are not vacation days, but "holy days" in which you and your neighbors do no work because you're bringing perfect and precious sacrifices to the Lord. Every year you celebrate these holy days because that's what the Lord asks of you.

God marked Israel's time with special reminders: on the Sabbath you rested, because God rested after creating all things; the Feasts of Unleavened Bread and Passover reminded you of the exodus from slavery in Egypt; the Feasts of Firstfruits and Weeks pointed to the gift of land; the Day of Atonement covered the people's sin and uncleanness; the Feast of Tabernacles reminded you that you lived in tents after the exodus.

Today our Sunday worship and other celebrations still regularly focus on what the Lord has done: God has created us in his image, covered our sin through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and given us new life and ongoing growth through his Holy Spirit. We put down our daily work and leave it in God's hands; we gather with others to offer sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving and to be reminded of the source of all our blessings.

We need such days because the cares and concerns of everyday life often tempt us to believe that our life depends on us. But, no, we depend totally on the Lord.

Thank you for our times of weekly worship, O Lord, and for other times of celebrating your goodness and care for us always. May we rest in you every day. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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