PRIESTS: ASBESTOS FINGERS
‘You are a… priesthood.’ 1 Peter 2:9 NIV
Know anyone with 'asbestos fingers'? Those crazies who casually toss coals around when setting up a fire, or play with candles at dinner tables. In the Old Testament, priests were kinda the same. They were chosen to get close to God (nod to Hebrews 9:1-10. Wow.), and the things of God - closer than the rest of the people, enough to feel the searing heat, the 'holiness that hurts the eyes', and they were allowed to withstand it.
God’s temple priests got involved with the altar, its vessels and the offerings. 'High priests' got the closest to God. They made sacrifices for sins and invited the presence of God back into the community. They were people who wore the Name of the Lord on their foreheads (Exodus 28:38). That, and what they did in that yearly ‘Day of Atonement’ service, made a way for God's people to be close to Him again, even in their sin-filled history.
And today? Peter says ‘you are a priesthood.’ *You* are a priesthood. You. Church tradition used to say that cherubs (the ones that got turned into sweet baby angels on postcards) had rosy cheeks because they were the angels that flew closest to God's throne. Literally, the heat was close to burning their faces off. This was where priests could go - right into God's presence, in with the angels - and this is where we’re allowed, today. How? And why? More on that tomorrow.
Don’t play with fire. But kinda get close enough to a hot thing (a radiator, or mug of coffee, or something, nothing too burny-hot) to think about how priests represented people to God, even in His fierce purity.