Tag Archives: celebrate

Matthew 26 – 1 – Preparation (Last Supper)

Well, I’m a few days further behind on my writing than on my copying.  I’m actually in Matthew 27 today in my copy work, but I’m writing about the beginning of Matthew 26.

Time seems to be speeding up here.  Final preparations are being made.  Jesus is where He often seems to be.  He is with His flock; at the home of Simon the leper.  A woman comes and pours out over his head a vial of very costly perfume.  This is so very significant in so many ways.  This kind of vial of perfume is often used as a life savings.  When a person has extra money that he / she wants to save long term (for when they are old / retired) they would invest it in perfumes and burying spices.  It held it’s value well, and was less likely to be stolen than Roman coin.  When this woman pours this perfume / burial incense & spices out on Jesus, she is giving up her best, her future for Him.  She is preparing Him for burial, and trusting God to provide for her future.  This is a huge sacrifice on her part, and everyone knows it.  Thus what she has done is remembered.

Next we see Judas preparing as well.  The Passover meal is coming, and he goes to the chief priests to sell out his master.  He takes the silver, and provides the direction to allow the leaders to take out their wrath through the destruction of something beautiful.

Finally, we come to an extremely important event.  One that is celebrated at least monthly in churches around the world.  The last supper and communion.  It’s funny that we use this official word “Communion” for this process.  What is communion?  Communion can be defined as: “The sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings”.  It is two or more people coming together for a common purpose to share / celebrate together with one another.  It is a process of celebration, joy, hope, sharing, and intimacy.  When i think of taking part in communion at church, i do not think of celebration, joy, hope, sharing, or intimacy.  It is more like seriousness, melancholy, monotony, dividing up, and self-focus.  That’s not to say that it is those things, but that certainly is what it seems like at times.

This Last Supper is that final time that Jesus has to share and be in relationship with His disciples.  He knows that this is His last chance to just be able to relax and spend time with them.  Imagine what it would be like if you knew that your next meal would be the last meal you would spend with your family.  The last chance you had to really BE with them, and enjoy their company.  Would you want it to be remembered as a stuffy occasion in which everyone passes around little tiny crackers and little tiny cups of juice and they sit there holding their little  tiny cups trying not to spill them and stain the carpet?  There are a whole lot of things that the church does really well, but I really think that we miss the target on this one.

Celebrate communion with someone today.

 

Rev. John J. Camiolo Jr.

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Leviticus 23 – Celebrate

That’s one of the things that i like about YHWH.  It’s not all just about rules and regulations.  It’s about utilizing all kinds of aspects of life.  It’s about creativity and connecting the past, to the present, to the future.  Worship is not just about sacrifices and burnt offerings.  It’s also about bringing something before God that you are to consume in his presence.  It’s about festivals and rest as well.

There are a number of festivals that are to be celebrated throughout the year; the Passover, Pentacost, the feast of weeks, the feast of booths, etc.  They all have meanings and important interpretations.  For instance, passover is a celebration of freedom from bondage and slavery under the Egyptians.  It is a celebration of new life and hope.  It is a celebration of freedom.  Meanwhile, the feast of booths is a week long celebration in which the first day is a day of rest and the only work that can be done is the building of small booths made of the branches, boughs, and fronds of trees.  It is a celebration as a reminder of the Israelite’s time in the wilderness where they had to rely on God for protection and provision.  It is a time of blessing.  The feast of booths begins and ends with a day of rest to the LORD.  I mean honestly, how many religions do you know that celebrate rest?

Are we taking seriously what YHWH has done for us?  Do we make it a point to remember and celebrate together the ways that He has brought health and healing to our lives?  Do we remind one another and celebrate together His work and purpose in and through us?  How can we do this more?

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Exodus 15 – Honor

I will sing to the LORD (YHWH) for He is highly exalted; the horse and its rider He has hurled in the sea…”  So begins the song of the MEN of Israel.  YHWH has done something amazing, and what is the response?  The MEN of Israel begin to sing and celebrate the wonders of God.  Why is that so different from today?  Why is it that instead of being the first to honor God, the men are usually the last?  Why is it that men are so hesitant to give glory to the One to whom it is due?  It has been in our nature to lead; that’s how we were created.  We were also created to bring YHWH honor and to show the glory of God.  Yet here we are.  Men are more likely to follow in worshiping God than we are to lead.  Men are less likely to honor God in how we express ourselves, yet we are responsible for leading in that.  Why is that, and how can we change it?

When the men worshiped, what did they do and say?  Moses and the men of Israel described God’s glory and His actions.  They expressed what YHWH did and how He did it.  The worship of men involved describing God, who He is and what He has done “The LORD (YHWH) is a warrior;  The LORD (YHWH) is His name.  Pharaoh’s chariots and his army He has cast into the sea;“.  The worship of men is about action and work “Your right hand, O LORD (YHWH), is majestic in power, Your right hand, O LORD (YHWH), shatters the enemy.  And in the greatness of Your excellence You overthrow those who rise up against You;“.  It is also about character and person; “In Your lovingkindness You have led the people whom You have redeemed; In Your strength You have guided them to Your holy habitation.

Is this how we worship today?  Do we celebrate who God is, or how He makes us feel when we feel His presence?  Is our worship about events and what God is doing in our lives, or is it about love and our emotions towards Him?  Are we honoring and glorifying YHWH, or are we just singing songs?

One of the beautiful things about the Israelites in the old testament, and something that has been lost in our culture is this idea of truly celebrating the milestones and successes in our lives.  When was the last time any of us really, truly celebrated a real success in our lives.  When was the last time God did something amazing in your life and you had a party to celebrate it?  I know i can’t remember the last time i did anything like that.  Aside from graduating from high-school and getting married, i can’t remember anything that YHWH has done that we have celebrated (besides the anniversary of days of birth and marriage).  We seem to have lost the ability to truly Honor God for the things He has done.  What can we do to change that?

I also wanted to note here that this is the first time that we see the LORD described as YHWH-Rapha, the LORD our Healer.  So far, the Israelites have seen a God of destruction.  He was a God who destroyed the Egyptians in order to free the sons of Israel from their enemies.  He brought plagues, destruction, and death.  Here they begin to see God as a God who heals (the waters of Marah).  Thus He is also the God of life.  It is a step in a different direction… but i’m out of time, so i can’t go into it more.

Rev. John Camiolo

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Exodus 13 – Ownership

Looking at the chapter and trying to sum up the themes and basic concepts in one word brings me to the idea of ownership.  Verses 1-16 are an intermingling of two ideas that most of us would consider separate.  There are these very different and distinct concepts.  The first is that YHWH spared the firstborn of Israel, and as such they belong to the Lord.  Form here on out the firstborn, the one to open the womb, belongs to God.  They must be given to God, or they must be redeemed.  The second concept is that every year the people of Israel are to have seven days of unleavened bread and a feast at the end.  This is in celebration of the Lord passing-over the Israelite’s, destroying the Egyptians, and rescuing the people from slavery.  In honor of that event, Passover must be celebrated every year.  The people of Israel are to take ownership of the acknowledgment and remembrance of this event.  This should be something that they not only acknowledge and understand, but that they also celebrate.  The Israelite people must take ownership of the remembrance of this event.

What’s interesting to me, is that these two very distinct and separate concepts are so intermingled in these first 16 verses that as much as it seems like they should be different, it becomes clear that they are interconnected and dependent upon one another.  I can’t say that i fully understand it.  To me they seem like two very different concepts, but God seems to say otherwise.  How and why?

The final concept of ownership in this chapter goes from vs. 17 through the end of the chapter.  In this section God takes responsibility / ownership for the people of Israel.  He doesn’t just tell Moses to lead them to the Mountain of God; He leads them.  He goes before them in a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.  He does not leave this to someone else.  He takes ownership and does it himself.

We serve a God of words and actions.  He doesn’t just tell us to do something.  He makes it happen.  As a result He is also a God that expects action and ownership from us.  We are to take ownership of the tasks that He gives us to do.

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