The Queen’s death has dominated the news this week. And rightly so, she was not our queen, but was THE queen for the rest of us. If WE think of her as the queen, was she not our queen too? I thought it was cool that at the Southernmost Point of the US, down in Key West, just for a day they replaced the United States flag with the British flag. It was kind of like them playing our National Anthem at Buckingham Palace after 9/11. The queen’s passing rightfully dominated the news.
But other things happened of course. And one that you probably missed is a news item sent to me by a couple of alert readers about some red heifers unloaded at the Ben Gurion airport in Israel.
Why would there be fanfare in the US about some red heifers being delivered in Israel? Well, some Christians in Texas had read the writings of a Spanish Jew who lived in the 12th Century. That’s why. Moses ben Maimon apparently was quite an accomplished physician and philosopher and rabbi. You can read about him under Maimonides in Wikipedia. He suggested that the Messiah would sacrifice a red bull when He returned. So, these kind folks in Texas sent the cows so that Israel would be ready. This captured the imagination of more than one Adventist.
I have two thoughts on this:
One, I suffer from a very simple theological disease called “waitandsee.” I really don’t think that we as Christians will do any better at predicting Jesus’ return than people did when He came the first time. And we can no better make the Messiah come back (like lining up cows in Israel) than we can predict when he’s coming (which Jesus told us nobody knows). “Waiting and seeing” does not mean that we get to sit around, however. But the preparations that we are to make are in our hearts. Are we ready for His return? Are we excited about it? (I’m thinking of a T-shirt I saw once: on the front it said “Jesus is coming soon,” and on the back it said “look busy”). I’m guilty of not thinking about it a whole lot. Preparing for my reunion with God is what my life should be all about. And that has to do with my behavior, my thoughts, my “sanctification” as Wesley would have called it.
And two, I believe that Jesus abolished the need for animal sacrifice. He was the final sacrificed lamb, an atonement once and for all. Why would He come back to reinstitute an old, useless ritual? We remember that ultimate gift to us, a gift of redemption, every time we have communion. We celebrate the end of sacrifices every month here. The sacrifices ended because of the One sacrifice made two
thousand years ago. And next week, we add the celebration that that gift is celebrated way beyond the country of Israel. It’s celebrated around the world, maybe with different breads and in different languages, but with the same words: This is my body which is broken for you…
We will get to celebrate World Communion Sunday with different breads and in different languages, all praising God that atonement was paid for once and for all by Jesus on a cross.
Looking forward to next week,
Then I looked, and I heard the voices of many angels and living creatures and elders encircling the throne, and their number was myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands. In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing!” Revelation 5:11,12