Keepers of the Flame!
“And the fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it; it shall not be put out. And the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order on it; and he shall burn on it the fat of the peace offerings. A fire shall always be burning on the altar; it shall never go out” (Lev 6:12-13)
The sixth and seventh chapters of the book of Leviticus, form a distinct unit in the Hebrew text and comprise a manual of sacrificial procedure addressed to the priesthood.
The priests are instructed to keep the altar fire burning continually, since the burnt offering had to be disposed off completely on the altar. The sacrifice now described is the continual burnt offering (Exodus 29:38-42), presented morning and evening for the community as a whole. This ceremony reminded the Israelites of their need for continuous worship of the Lord, and assured them of his constant vigilance on their behalf.
An ‘eternal flame” can be a symbolism or none at all. For the ancient Hebrews, it typified, among other things, God’s presence among his people, and his own demands that his covenant nation should worship Him alone. Some Christians have seen in this continuous fire the obedience of Jesus Christ our High Priest, who was obedient to the point of death (Phil 2:8) when he offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for human sin.
We just concluded our mission month focus on “Partnering in Mission”. Last Sunday, the closing song “Find us faithful”, has this chorus, which goes this way:
“Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave
Lead them to believe, And the lives we live inspire them to obey
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful”
May the Lord help us to be His keepers of the flame!
Last Sunday, we spoke and heard about the possibility of making mission trips, mission awareness, through BC’s mission fields or even with and through other para churches or organizations. I read in the recent Every Home Crusade’s newsletter about their “Summer Advances”. And this is what they do….During summer, families across the United States, Europe and other parts of the world prepare for long-awaited getaways to mountain lakes and beachside resorts or sightseeing trips to faraway places. Summer is something of a “get away time” for many. The goal seems to be “let’s have fun while the sun is shining”.
But as travellers get out their passport and pack suitcases, thousands of Every Home for Christ workers are checking maps and moving forward into a summer filled with challenging treks to mountaintop villages, distant islands, and jungle villages to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, plant churches, and train Christian leaders to disciple new believers. This is their style of summer holidays!
There will be times when you want to take a break from your routine work. Be it from household chores, office leave, school or college holidays, or the mundane of things. Do consider a “break with a difference”. Perhaps just like what the “Summer Advances” concept mentioned in the above account. Take Time! Talk to your SG!, Talk to your family and children, talk to mission department representatives in our church!
May I wish you a blessed mission encounter when you next decide to take a “break”. And keep the flame burning!
Elder Andrew Lim