October 1, 2021
9 The Lord said to Moses, “I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, so that the people will hear me speaking with you and will always put their trust in you.” Then Moses told the Lord what the people had said.
10 And the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes 11 and be ready by the third day, because on that day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. 12 Put limits for the people around the mountain and tell them, ‘Be careful that you do not approach the mountain or touch the foot of it. Whoever touches the mountain is to be put to death. 13 They are to be stoned or shot with arrows; not a hand is to be laid on them. No person or animal shall be permitted to live.’ Only when the ram’s horn sounds a long blast may they approach the mountain.”
14 After Moses had gone down the mountain to the people, he consecrated them, and they washed their clothes. 15 Then he said to the people, “Prepare yourselves for the third day. Abstain from sexual relations.”
God is coming to the people through Moses. But God tells the people, through Moses, that they must be prepared. Not just Moses being prepared as he meets God on their behalf. They are prepared, even though they are not to go past the boundaries set up for their protection. God will meet with Moses, so that the people will trust Moses as he brings the words of God to them. And for this already they need to be prepared.
I grew up with the understanding that Saturday evening was a time to prepare ourselves as we would be going to worship on Sunday. Saturday evening baths or showers. Doing things that settled, not going to parties or out drinking. Prayers at meals reflected that the next day was a day of worship and asking to be prepared for that gathering, and praying for the Pastor and all who would lead in worship.
I see that as incomplete. Not at all wrong in what we do with Saturday, but maybe we start earlier in the week. They were told to prepare now as God would come on the third day. For us now that would be to start on Friday preparing, and the third day would be that time of meeting with God – Sunday.
Or even longer, what if we saw it all week long. Not that worship is our only thing, but if worship is the time when God speaks to us and prepares us for a week of service, what if we spent some of that time each day in the week of serving God to prepare ourselves and ask that those leading be hearing God well to lead us in worship and to take part in our next time of preparation to serve in God’s world.
Today is already Friday, but that is where we can start this week. Take time in prayers today and tomorrow to bring the leaders in worship before God. And not just here, in all places. Ask God to be preparing pastors, musicians, all who partake in worship, that they hear God speak as they prepare and that God be heard in the voices that lead in songs, prayers, litanies, sermons, blessings offered.
Today is Friday, but the third day is one of worship and praise. A time when God meets with us together. As we meet with him in our own places in these days, may we always see the gathering of God’s people as a time of joy to be anticipated. May we see the time of gathering as an expression of grace and unity. May we see the time of gathering as the time that sends us to follow Jesus throughout our days and weeks.
Song – Sanctuary
Almighty God, we pray for your blessing on the church in all places. Here may the faithful find salvation, and the careless be awakened. Here may the doubting find faith, and the anxious be encouraged. Here may the tempted find help, and the sorrowful find comfort. Here may the weary find rest, and the strong be renewed. Here may the aged find consolation and the young be inspired; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.