I got sent to my room a lot as a kid. I also got spanked quite a bit. Don't worry, I deserved it every time. If I had to choose between the two, getting sent to my room would be the choice (obviously). But it wasn't just because I avoided a sore rear: my legos were in my room.
Now, I'm sure my parents knew that when I got sent to my room it was less punishment and more vacation for a child such as me. It had everything I enjoyed. I could be left alone, I had books, and I had legos. Honestly, I'm sure the real reason I was sent to my room was to keep me out of my parents' hair, not to discipline me for something. That's what spankings were for.
I like to plan things, but I don't always like to take action. I process the world in terms of "what ifs" and "how abouts." What if this happens? How will I react? How would we recover? What about this? Can we try that instead? What would be the outcome then?
Living in my head can be exhausting. I like to parse out every hypothetical in order to prepare for anything. It's a great trait to have for planning, but it's also a curse. Sometimes I get so caught up in the planning, the waiting, the hypothetical reacting, that I forget to actually move forward. I get stuck like a hamster on its exercise wheel.
At that point, all the planning in the world means nothing, because no action ever happens. Nothing comes to fruition, and everything remains hypthetical instead of entering reality.
I grew up raising animals; beef cattle in particular. In rasing these animals, I learned a lot about how the world works in a cycle. From a very early age, I realized that death made way for life. Things died, and fertilized the soil. This gave life to grass and crops like corn or wheat. Cattle ate these crops, killing them but gaining life in the process. And through the death of a steer, I was able to gain protein and sustinance for my own life.
In the Old Testament, death made life possible as well. God promised that his people would be in his life giving presence, but the price for that was to follow his Law. The Law required the sacrifice of sheep, bulls, doves, and many other types of animals. Blood had to be spilled in order to make the people of God perfect in his sight. And this blood had to be spilled over and over again to cover the multitue of imperfections.
Lent tends to dispel the shadows in my life. The light of Jesus is strong enough to remove any darkness, and thus show me as I really am. There is no hiding in shadows cast by a flickering candle. Rather, I am completely exposed in a flood of inescapable illumination. I'm under a spot light.
Shadows have always fascinated me. First and foremost, shadows cannot exist without light. Some form of illumination has to be shining in order to create a shadow. Second, a shadow needs a primary source. This source is the real object for which the shadow stands. The shadow is a loose representation of this primary source, and often gives an idea of what it might look like. However, it could never pass as the object itself, and in every way it is inferior to the source.
When I was young, and even up until I was in college, I never understood the significance of Jesus being both a king and a priest. I always heard that he was “prophet, priest, and king,” but it never dawned on me how special that was. You see, under the old covenant, priests were only from the line of Levi. Kings, on the other hand, always came from the line of Judah, the line that David belonged to. And prophets were always appointed by God himself to bring God’s Word to the people.
Jesus was born of the line of Judah, the line of David, and so it makes sense that he was born into Kingship. He was of the line of the kings. And he was obviously appointed by God to bring the message of salvation to the people of the world, so it also makes sense that he was considered a prophet. But what about the priesthood? Jesus wasn’t of the line of Levi, so how can he be considered a priest among the Jews?