happy Groundhog Day! Gobblers Know, the site of Punxsutawney Phil, the "official" groundhog for the day, is not too terribly far from us, roughly 100 miles. Not next door, but not in another time zone either. I never really got into the whole Groundhog Day thing, but between New Year's and the Equinox, there just are not that many excuses for drunken rowdy celebrations, so it will have to do. Some of the people around here don't need much coaxing anyway.
Dear Wife not doing too well, so neither of us really slept much last night. She's next door "watching" the Little One for niece who is at work, a 4-hour half day. Should be home soon. We'll probably nibble something and then crash for a few hours. After I massage her pained feet and knees. High school classmates from LONG ago had one of their regular "Girls Night Out" things, and had invited us to show: I haven't seen most of them in more than 30 years. Would have been nice, but they'd like to meet her, and she wasn't up to it. So we begged off. Regrets.
Not much to say about the political contest in Iowa last night. I don't live in Iowa, I have not aligned myself with either of the two major political parties, and may not do so. "Place not thy faith in princes" has been good advice for millenia, and much of the rancor reflects justifiable rage at the liars who have gained positions of public trust, and then shown themselves to be unworthy of such trust. I think we need not to list names.
The Old Testament reading today is chapters 29 and 30 of the Exodus. The Lord is giving very detailed instructions, not hints or suggestions, about the system of worship to be followed. Followed diligently. "Do it my way" was not an available option.
And this is the thing that thou shalt do unto them to hallow them, to minister unto me in the priest's office: Take one young bullock, and two rams without blemish,
And unleavened bread, and cakes unleavened tempered with oil, and wafers unleavened anointed with oil: of wheaten flour shalt thou make them.
And thou shalt put them into one basket, and bring them in the basket, with the bullock and the two rams.
And Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shalt wash them with water.
And thou shalt take the garments, and put upon Aaron the coat, and the robe of the ephod, and the ephod, and the breastplate, and gird him with the curious girdle of the ephod:
And thou shalt put the mitre upon his head, and put the holy crown upon the mitre.
Then shalt thou take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his head, and anoint him.
And thou shalt bring his sons, and put coats upon them.
And thou shalt gird them with girdles, Aaron and his sons, and put the bonnets on them: and the priest's office shall be theirs for a perpetual statute: and thou shalt consecrate Aaron and his sons.
And thou shalt cause a bullock to be brought before the tabernacle of the congregation: and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands upon the head of the bullock.
And thou shalt kill the bullock before the LORD, by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
And thou shalt take of the blood of the bullock, and put it upon the horns of the altar with thy finger, and pour all the blood beside the bottom of the altar.
And thou shalt take all the fat that covereth the inwards, and the caul that is above the liver, and the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, and burn them upon the altar.
But the flesh of the bullock, and his skin, and his dung, shalt thou burn with fire without the camp: it is a sin offering.
Thou shalt also take one ram; and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands upon the head of the ram.
And thou shalt slay the ram, and thou shalt take his blood, and sprinkle it round about upon the altar.
And thou shalt cut the ram in pieces, and wash the inwards of him, and his legs, and put them unto his pieces, and unto his head.
And thou shalt burn the whole ram upon the altar: it is a burnt offering unto the LORD: it is a sweet savor, an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
And thou shalt take the other ram; and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands upon the head of the ram.
Then shalt thou kill the ram, and take of his blood, and put it upon the tip of the right ear of Aaron, and upon the tip of the right ear of his sons, and upon the thumb of their right hand, and upon the great toe of their right foot, and sprinkle the blood upon the altar round about.
And thou shalt take of the blood that is upon the altar, and of the anointing oil, and sprinkle it upon Aaron, and upon his garments, and upon his sons, and upon the garments of his sons with him: and he shall be hallowed, and his garments, and his sons, and his sons' garments with him.
Also thou shalt take of the ram the fat and the rump, and the fat that covereth the inwards, and the caul above the liver, and the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, and the right shoulder; for it is a ram of consecration:
And one loaf of bread, and one cake of oiled bread, and one wafer out of the basket of the unleavened bread that is before the LORD:
And thou shalt put all in the hands of Aaron, and in the hands of his sons; and shalt wave them for a wave offering before the LORD.
And thou shalt receive them of their hands, and burn them upon the altar for a burnt offering, for a sweet savor before the LORD: it is an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
And thou shalt take the breast of the ram of Aaron's consecration, and wave it for a wave offering before the LORD: and it shall be thy part.
And thou shalt sanctify the breast of the wave offering, and the shoulder of the heave offering, which is waved, and which is heaved up, of the ram of the consecration, even of that which is for Aaron, and of that which is for his sons:
And it shall be Aaron's and his sons' by a statute for ever from the children of Israel: for it is an heave offering: and it shall be an heave offering from the children of Israel of the sacrifice of their peace offerings, even their heave offering unto the LORD.
And the holy garments of Aaron shall be his sons' after him, to be anointed therein, and to be consecrated in them.
And that son that is priest in his stead shall put them on seven days, when he cometh into the tabernacle of the congregation to minister in the holy place.
And thou shalt take the ram of the consecration, and seethe his flesh in the holy place.
And Aaron and his sons shall eat the flesh of the ram, and the bread that is in the basket by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
And they shall eat those things wherewith the atonement was made, to consecrate and to sanctify them: but a stranger shall not eat thereof, because they are holy.
And if ought of the flesh of the consecrations, or of the bread, remain unto the morning, then thou shalt burn the remainder with fire: it shall not be eaten, because it is holy.
And thus shalt thou do unto Aaron, and to his sons, according to all things which I have commanded thee: seven days shalt thou consecrate them.
And thou shalt offer every day a bullock for a sin offering for atonement: and thou shalt cleanse the altar, when thou hast made an atonement for it, and thou shalt anoint it, to sanctify it.
Seven days thou shalt make an atonement for the altar, and sanctify it; and it shall be an altar most holy: whatsoever toucheth the altar shall be holy.
Now this is that which thou shalt offer upon the altar; two lambs of the first year day by day continually.
The one lamb thou shalt offer in the morning; and the other lamb thou shalt offer at even:
And with the one lamb a tenth deal of flour mingled with the fourth part of an hin of beaten oil; and the fourth part of an hin of wine for a drink offering.
And the other lamb thou shalt offer at even, and shalt do thereto according to the meat offering of the morning, and according to the drink offering thereof, for a sweet savor, an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD: where I will meet you, to speak there unto thee.
And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory.
And I will sanctify the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar: I will sanctify also both Aaron and his sons, to minister to me in the priest's office.
And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God.
And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them: I am the LORD their God.
And thou shalt make an altar to burn incense upon: of shittim wood shalt thou make it.
A cubit shall be the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof; foursquare shall it be: and two cubits shall be the height thereof: the horns thereof shall be of the same.
And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, the top thereof, and the sides thereof round about, and the horns thereof; and thou shalt make unto it a crown of gold round about.
And two golden rings shalt thou make to it under the crown of it, by the two corners thereof, upon the two sides of it shalt thou make it; and they shall be for places for the staves to bear it withal.
And thou shalt make the staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold.
And thou shalt put it before the vail that is by the ark of the testimony, before the mercy seat that is over the testimony, where I will meet with thee.
And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning: when he dresseth the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it.
And when Aaron lighteth the lamps at even, he shall burn incense upon it, a perpetual incense before the LORD throughout your generations.
Ye shall offer no strange incense thereon, nor burnt sacrifice, nor meat offering; neither shall ye pour drink offering thereon.
And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonements: once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations: it is most holy unto the LORD.
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto the LORD, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague among them, when thou numberest them.
This they shall give, every one that passeth among them that are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary: (a shekel is twenty gerahs:) an half shekel shall be the offering of the LORD.
Every one that passeth among them that are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto the LORD.
The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when they give an offering unto the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls.
And thou shalt take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shalt appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; that it may be a memorial unto the children of Israel before the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls.
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and his foot also of brass, to wash withal: and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein.
For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat:
When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto the LORD:
So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not: and it shall be a statute for ever to them, even to him and to his seed throughout their generations.
Moreover the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels,
And of cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil olive an hin:
And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil.
And thou shalt anoint the tabernacle of the congregation therewith, and the ark of the testimony,
And the table and all his vessels, and the candlestick and his vessels, and the altar of incense,
And the altar of burnt offering with all his vessels, and the laver and his foot.
And thou shalt sanctify them, that they may be most holy: whatsoever toucheth them shall be holy.
And thou shalt anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office.
And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, This shall be an holy anointing oil unto me throughout your generations.
Upon man's flesh shall it not be poured, neither shall ye make any other like it, after the composition of it: it is holy, and it shall be holy unto you.
Whosoever compoundeth any like it, or whosoever putteth any of it upon a stranger, shall even be cut off from his people.
And the LORD said unto Moses, Take unto thee sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum; these sweet spices with pure frankincense: of each shall there be a like weight:
And thou shalt make it a perfume, a confection after the art of the apothecary, tempered together, pure and holy:
And thou shalt beat some of it very small, and put of it before the testimony in the tabernacle of the congregation, where I will meet with thee: it shall be unto you most holy.
And as for the perfume which thou shalt make, ye shall not make to yourselves according to the composition thereof: it shall be unto thee holy for the LORD.
Whosoever shall make like unto that, to smell thereto, shall even be cut off from his people.
The New Testament reading is verses 1-22 of chapter 22 in the Gospel of Matthew. Bear in mind that all of this is taking place in the week between Jesus' "Triumphal Entry" into Jerusalem, and the Crucifixion. Jesus knew what was coming. No one else did. So read and reflect on this, and all these passages, with that in mind.
And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said,
The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,
And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.
Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.
But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:
And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.
But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.
Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.
Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.
So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.
And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:
And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.
Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
For many are called, but few are chosen.
Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk.
And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men.
Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?
But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?
Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny.
And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?
They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.
When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.