Contamination

Graveside service, dental appointment, visit to my daughter’s family, pastoral (retired!) visits, coffee and more.  What a week.

The most interesting part was finally getting into the abandoned house we had bought.  The boarded up edifice had sat there for three years with no one in or out.  As we prepared to enter, we were not sure what we were entering!

On went full face masks, boots and coveralls.  We borrowed a horse trailer to contain the household garbage.  Two full trailer loads headed to the dump, with a third ready to go.  And that was only 3/4 of the first floor – there is still a basement (which is even fuller) and an upstairs.  To say the previous occupant was a hoarder is to understate the situation.

As we finished the day, we removed our protective outwear.  We did not want to run across someone and contaminate them with whatever evil we had encountered in the house.  We washed and were ready to meet people – the next large gathering was a church service the following day.

I’ve been ready the Old Testament book of Ezekiel.  In the 44th chapter, verse 19, the priests, who have gone into God’s house, are told to wear protective gear.  When they leave at the end of their shift, they are told to leave that gear behind.  Just in case they brush up against someone and contaminate them with holiness.

The likeness of both situations is striking.  There is something deeply disturbing about bacteria and contaminates in our abandoned house.   There is something deeply disturbing about godliness and holiness in God’s house.

Take a stab at this one! 

Why were the priests told not to transmit holiness to the people?  What was to  be feared about this contamination?

3 thoughts on “Contamination

  1. I went back and re-read this because I didn’t recall this specifically. I’m no scholar or anything and read it in English from the NRSV so I might be missing something. God, via the prophet, is disgusted with the Levites for “going astray from me after their idols when Israel went astray”(44:10). God calls on the descendents of Zadok to take over all temple duties and to “show them [the people of Israel] how to distinguish between the unclean and the clean” (44:23). It seems that the people couldn’t tell the difference between holy and profane. Indeed they’d allowed “foreigners, uncircumcised in heart and flesh, to be in my sanctuary, profaning my temple when you offer to me my food, the fat and the blood” (44:7).
    All that to say I think it was a way of keeping that which is holy and that which is not holy apart because it had been mixed together in the minds and the practices of the people. I think God wants the people to be holy but they were incapable of it because they couldn’t distinguish them.
    Just a thought
    Reade (your nephew-in-law)

  2. With the house – you were heading into darkness (contamination) and not wanting to bring that darkness with you.

    Holiness – When we enter holiness and God’s presence, we are where we long to be. Leaving the fullness of that special place, we are to carry it with us — however the fullness of God’s brilliant light is very hard to tolerate by those who live in darkness. some become so frightened that it adds to the reasons they live in darkness. Even a little light can cause that….My opinion is that God asks us to shed the garments worn for : 1. as a reminder that we have been in God’s presence and now we have a duty to walk in that and to testify to that – drawing others to the fullness of Christ. 2. While we continue to carry the parts of God’s presence that have found a home in our hearts, we can only share in part the fullness of God.
    3. It creates a longing deep within us to come back again to the source of brilliant light – Our Lord and Savior. 4. We leave that holy spot and reenter the world – that holds so many dark dark spots — as we carry the light to those spots – we know there is more than what we have and we can enthusiastically point others to the cross. Also like the Shine on Moses face when he was told to cover his face — we will be carrying a brighter light – but instead of covering it we will be revealing it in just the right about of light that others can see – especially those in the darkest spots – .

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