About 33 degrees here, shortly before noon, so it's downhill from here. Expecting snow, large amounts of it, and bitter bitter cold the rest of the week. We have passed the 10 hours of daylight point, more than a week ago, and are up to 10 hours 23 minutes, gaining another 2-1/2 minutes today. So we're headed in the right direction. But in these parts, winter comes early, stays late, and is a miserable guest throughout. We've been through worse, FAR worse (last winter was exceptionally brutal even by local standards), but we were also younger, healthier, and had more resources then. Now, not so much.
Oh, well. This too shall pass.
Dear Wife was up in the middle of the night, which she is known to do, and feeling awful. I was done in and only dimly aware of her movement, which is unusual. She got bored and couldn't sleep, so she waxed creative and made a pan of cinnamon rolls, and icing, all from scratch. When the cats woke me at 05:00 for their breakfast, I woke to a wonderful aroma. I got up, fed them, made coffee for her, had a roll for me. Then we both went back to bed for a couple more hours. I got up around 07:45, had coffee, had another roll, and tried to stay quiet for her. Got a little bit of Bible study in, a bit of quiet contemplation, read some messages and news reports. Another day.
The Old Testament reading is chapters 7, 8, 9 of Leviticus. This is continuing on the issues of the system of worship, the commissioning of the priesthood, the dedication of the Tabernacle, the very Presence of the Lord. He was setting them on His path, making things very explicit.
Likewise this is the law of the trespass offering: it is most holy.
In the place where they kill the burnt offering shall they kill the trespass offering: and the blood thereof shall he sprinkle round about upon the altar.
And he shall offer of it all the fat thereof; the rump, and the fat that covereth the inwards,
And the two kidneys, and the fat that is on them, which is by the flanks, and the caul that is above the liver, with the kidneys, it shall he take away:
And the priest shall burn them upon the altar for an offering made by fire unto the LORD: it is a trespass offering.
Every male among the priests shall eat thereof: it shall be eaten in the holy place: it is most holy.
As the sin offering is, so is the trespass offering: there is one law for them: the priest that maketh atonement therewith shall have it.
And the priest that offereth any man's burnt offering, even the priest shall have to himself the skin of the burnt offering which he hath offered.
And all the meat offering that is baked in the oven, and all that is dressed in the frying pan, and in the pan, shall be the priest's that offereth it.
And every meat offering, mingled with oil, and dry, shall all the sons of Aaron have, one as much as another.
And this is the law of the sacrifice of peace offerings, which he shall offer unto the LORD.
If he offer it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer with the sacrifice of thanksgiving unleavened cakes mingled with oil, and unleavened wafers anointed with oil, and cakes mingled with oil, of fine flour, fried.
Besides the cakes, he shall offer for his offering leavened bread with the sacrifice of thanksgiving of his peace offerings.
And of it he shall offer one out of the whole oblation for an heave offering unto the LORD, and it shall be the priest's that sprinkleth the blood of the peace offerings.
And the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offerings for thanksgiving shall be eaten the same day that it is offered; he shall not leave any of it until the morning.
But if the sacrifice of his offering be a vow, or a voluntary offering, it shall be eaten the same day that he offereth his sacrifice: and on the morrow also the remainder of it shall be eaten:
But the remainder of the flesh of the sacrifice on the third day shall be burnt with fire.
And if any of the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offerings be eaten at all on the third day, it shall not be accepted, neither shall it be imputed unto him that offereth it: it shall be an abomination, and the soul that eateth of it shall bear his iniquity.
And the flesh that toucheth any unclean thing shall not be eaten; it shall be burnt with fire: and as for the flesh, all that be clean shall eat thereof.
But the soul that eateth of the flesh of the sacrifice of peace offerings, that pertain unto the LORD, having his uncleanness upon him, even that soul shall be cut off from his people.
Moreover the soul that shall touch any unclean thing, as the uncleanness of man, or any unclean beast, or any abominable unclean thing, and eat of the flesh of the sacrifice of peace offerings, which pertain unto the LORD, even that soul shall be cut off from his people.
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, Ye shall eat no manner of fat, of ox, or of sheep, or of goat.
And the fat of the beast that dieth of itself, and the fat of that which is torn with beasts, may be used in any other use: but ye shall in no wise eat of it.
For whosoever eateth the fat of the beast, of which men offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD, even the soul that eateth it shall be cut off from his people.
Moreover ye shall eat no manner of blood, whether it be of fowl or of beast, in any of your dwellings.
Whatsoever soul it be that eateth any manner of blood, even that soul shall be cut off from his people.
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, He that offereth the sacrifice of his peace offerings unto the LORD shall bring his oblation unto the LORD of the sacrifice of his peace offerings.
His own hands shall bring the offerings of the LORD made by fire, the fat with the breast, it shall he bring, that the breast may be waved for a wave offering before the LORD.
And the priest shall burn the fat upon the altar: but the breast shall be Aaron's and his sons'.
And the right shoulder shall ye give unto the priest for an heave offering of the sacrifices of your peace offerings.
He among the sons of Aaron, that offereth the blood of the peace offerings, and the fat, shall have the right shoulder for his part.
For the wave breast and the heave shoulder have I taken of the children of Israel from off the sacrifices of their peace offerings, and have given them unto Aaron the priest and unto his sons by a statute for ever from among the children of Israel.
This is the portion of the anointing of Aaron, and of the anointing of his sons, out of the offerings of the LORD made by fire, in the day when he presented them to minister unto the LORD in the priest's office;
Which the LORD commanded to be given them of the children of Israel, in the day that he anointed them, by a statute for ever throughout their generations.
This is the law of the burnt offering, of the meat offering, and of the sin offering, and of the trespass offering, and of the consecrations, and of the sacrifice of the peace offerings;
Which the LORD commanded Moses in mount Sinai, in the day that he commanded the children of Israel to offer their oblations unto the LORD, in the wilderness of Sinai.
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Take Aaron and his sons with him, and the garments, and the anointing oil, and a bullock for the sin offering, and two rams, and a basket of unleavened bread;
And gather thou all the congregation together unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
And Moses did as the LORD commanded him; and the assembly was gathered together unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
And Moses said unto the congregation, This is the thing which the LORD commanded to be done.
And Moses brought Aaron and his sons, and washed them with water.
And he put upon him the coat, and girded him with the girdle, and clothed him with the robe, and put the ephod upon him, and he girded him with the curious girdle of the ephod, and bound it unto him therewith.
And he put the breastplate upon him: also he put in the breastplate the Urim and the Thummim.
And he put the mitre upon his head; also upon the mitre, even upon his forefront, did he put the golden plate, the holy crown; as the LORD commanded Moses.
And Moses took the anointing oil, and anointed the tabernacle and all that was therein, and sanctified them.
And he sprinkled thereof upon the altar seven times, and anointed the altar and all his vessels, both the laver and his foot, to sanctify them.
And he poured of the anointing oil upon Aaron's head, and anointed him, to sanctify him.
And Moses brought Aaron's sons, and put coats upon them, and girded them with girdles, and put bonnets upon them; as the LORD commanded Moses.
And he brought the bullock for the sin offering: and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the bullock for the sin offering.
And he slew it; and Moses took the blood, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about with his finger, and purified the altar, and poured the blood at the bottom of the altar, and sanctified it, to make reconciliation upon it.
And he took all the fat that was upon the inwards, and the caul above the liver, and the two kidneys, and their fat, and Moses burned it upon the altar.
But the bullock, and his hide, his flesh, and his dung, he burnt with fire without the camp; as the LORD commanded Moses.
And he brought the ram for the burnt offering: and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the ram.
And he killed it; and Moses sprinkled the blood upon the altar round about.
And he cut the ram into pieces; and Moses burnt the head, and the pieces, and the fat.
And he washed the inwards and the legs in water; and Moses burnt the whole ram upon the altar: it was a burnt sacrifice for a sweet savor, and an offering made by fire unto the LORD; as the LORD commanded Moses.
And he brought the other ram, the ram of consecration: and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the ram.
And he slew it; and Moses took of the blood of it, and put it upon the tip of Aaron's right ear, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot.
And he brought Aaron's sons, and Moses put of the blood upon the tip of their right ear, and upon the thumbs of their right hands, and upon the great toes of their right feet: and Moses sprinkled the blood upon the altar round about.
And he took the fat, and the rump, and all the fat that was upon the inwards, and the caul above the liver, and the two kidneys, and their fat, and the right shoulder:
And out of the basket of unleavened bread, that was before the LORD, he took one unleavened cake, and a cake of oiled bread, and one wafer, and put them on the fat, and upon the right shoulder:
And he put all upon Aaron's hands, and upon his sons' hands, and waved them for a wave offering before the LORD.
And Moses took them from off their hands, and burnt them on the altar upon the burnt offering: they were consecrations for a sweet savor: it is an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
And Moses took the breast, and waved it for a wave offering before the LORD: for of the ram of consecration it was Moses' part; as the LORD commanded Moses.
And Moses took of the anointing oil, and of the blood which was upon the altar, and sprinkled it upon Aaron, and upon his garments, and upon his sons, and upon his sons' garments with him; and sanctified Aaron, and his garments, and his sons, and his sons' garments with him.
And Moses said unto Aaron and to his sons, Boil the flesh at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and there eat it with the bread that is in the basket of consecrations, as I commanded, saying, Aaron and his sons shall eat it.
And that which remaineth of the flesh and of the bread shall ye burn with fire.
And ye shall not go out of the door of the tabernacle of the congregation in seven days, until the days of your consecration be at an end: for seven days shall he consecrate you.
As he hath done this day, so the LORD hath commanded to do, to make an atonement for you.
Therefore shall ye abide at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation day and night seven days, and keep the charge of the LORD, that ye die not: for so I am commanded.
So Aaron and his sons did all things which the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses.
And it came to pass on the eighth day, that Moses called Aaron and his sons, and the elders of Israel;
And he said unto Aaron, Take thee a young calf for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering, without blemish, and offer them before the LORD.
And unto the children of Israel thou shalt speak, saying, Take ye a kid of the goats for a sin offering; and a calf and a lamb, both of the first year, without blemish, for a burnt offering;
Also a bullock and a ram for peace offerings, to sacrifice before the LORD; and a meat offering mingled with oil: for to day the LORD will appear unto you.
And they brought that which Moses commanded before the tabernacle of the congregation: and all the congregation drew near and stood before the LORD.
And Moses said, This is the thing which the LORD commanded that ye should do: and the glory of the LORD shall appear unto you.
And Moses said unto Aaron, Go unto the altar, and offer thy sin offering, and thy burnt offering, and make an atonement for thyself, and for the people: and offer the offering of the people, and make an atonement for them; as the LORD commanded.
Aaron therefore went unto the altar, and slew the calf of the sin offering, which was for himself.
And the sons of Aaron brought the blood unto him: and he dipped his finger in the blood, and put it upon the horns of the altar, and poured out the blood at the bottom of the altar:
But the fat, and the kidneys, and the caul above the liver of the sin offering, he burnt upon the altar; as the LORD commanded Moses.
And the flesh and the hide he burnt with fire without the camp.
And he slew the burnt offering; and Aaron's sons presented unto him the blood, which he sprinkled round about upon the altar.
And they presented the burnt offering unto him, with the pieces thereof, and the head: and he burnt them upon the altar.
And he did wash the inwards and the legs, and burnt them upon the burnt offering on the altar.
And he brought the people's offering, and took the goat, which was the sin offering for the people, and slew it, and offered it for sin, as the first.
And he brought the burnt offering, and offered it according to the manner.
And he brought the meat offering, and took an handful thereof, and burnt it upon the altar, beside the burnt sacrifice of the morning.
He slew also the bullock and the ram for a sacrifice of peace offerings, which was for the people: and Aaron's sons presented unto him the blood, which he sprinkled upon the altar round about,
And the fat of the bullock and of the ram, the rump, and that which covereth the inwards, and the kidneys, and the caul above the liver:
And they put the fat upon the breasts, and he burnt the fat upon the altar:
And the breasts and the right shoulder Aaron waved for a wave offering before the LORD; as Moses commanded.
And Aaron lifted up his hand toward the people, and blessed them, and came down from offering of the sin offering, and the burnt offering, and peace offerings.
And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the people.
And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.
The New Testament reading is verses 31-46 of the 25th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. Jesus is speaking of the future to His listeners, some of that future in the relatively near future, some of it has yet to occur.
Some of that near future was of the the destruction of Jerusalem. It is difficult for those of us who are not traditional Jews (which leaves out the secular Jews and most of the so-called "Reform" Jews as well) to understand the gut-level identification that they had, and some still have, to the Temple in Jerusalem, the city of Jerusalem itself, the culture and the land. It's almost in the DNA. It was bad enough that Jesus' listeners were living in an occupied land, surrounded (as they still are) by implacable enemies of their nation, faith, and culture. At least they were still there, and had hope, and could look at the Temple, see the priests, hear the prayers, and maintain a continuity between the past and the present, with hope for the future. Jesus was telling them that in the not-too-distant future, all that would be gone. The magnificent Temple destroyed, the nation scattered, death and destruction and misery all around. All that they clung to, gone. And yet, hopeless and awful as it would seem, the Lord was not done, and that there would be a future. That message is worth hearing, and remembering. I have known utter despair and loss. I know what it is to be hungry and homeless and cold, with enemies seeking me, and "good people" refusing to acknowledge my very existence. And at other times, even though knowing the Lord, have known terrible loss. Yet my Redeemer liveth, and His word is still there, His promises are good. Jesus told them, and us, that our security and happiness is not in our circumstances, but in Him. That has not changed, and will not.
And in the meantime, we are still to carry out the Lord's mission, to be His people in this world, and to live as He would have us to do. No matter what.
When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.