Monday, June 21, 2010

Midsummer: the veil is open

Having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh. Hebrews 10:19, 20 NKJV

Today is the longest daylight of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. For thousands of years, this date has been observed by devotees of pagan gods, and bonfires were lit and vigils held during the short hours of darkness. The idea was that people were safe from the evil spirits within the circle of the bonfires' light.

Ancient peoples built their pyramids, stone circles, palaces, road alignments, shrines, and temples based on their solar observations on this day in particular.

At solar festivals (solstices, equinoxes, and the six-week intervals between—February 1, May 1, August 1, and November 1), the eve of solar holy days was seen as a time when the veil (something that conceals, separates, or screens like a curtain) between this world and the Otherworld (of spirits, gods, fairies, and the dead) was very weak, and powerful Otherworld figures could cross through.

Just like they built Christian churches over pagan religious shrines, our ancestors replaced these festivals with feasts and holidays. Most pagan holidays had to do with sex and fertility (Easter, May Day), but also with death and rebirth (Halloween/All Saints, Christmas, Lent).

Christians are so blessed to live in peace and freedom from fear. We don’t have to appease vengeful gods by burning sage, pouring out libations, or making blood sacrifices. We need not fear haunting or demon possession because Christ Almighty protects us with His veil.

Hebrews 10:19-24 NKJV says: Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith... Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works.

That’s an encouraging, satisfying, peacemaking message from God. He is all-powerful, and we are His children, so let us go forth in His Name, in His strength, and in His heart of grace. And in contrast to what those evil spirits would do if they're loosed, let’s use this Midsummer as an occasion to stir up love and good works.

Let's see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping others in ways they need us, far more than what we'd choose to "do unto others." (A little religious joke there.) Sometimes it's as easy as listening without giving advice, or an extra two seconds of a hug, just because. Other times, it will involve sacrifice on our parts. But God gives us the discernment to know what to say and do--and what not to say and do at the appropriate times. He'll show us who needs the lovins. When the veil is open, not only do we have access to the Father, but His love is freely poured out on us, and through us to others.

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