Scripture Reading: Exodus 39 (NRSV)
As I read about the finery of the priests, I can't help but think of how this contrasts how Jesus had his clothing stripped from him. According to Luke's Gospel, when Jesus went before Herod, they mocked Jesus by putting an elegant robe on him before sending him back to Pilate.
The priests would look very impressive in their raiment. This is important as they are representing God on earth. It may be helpful for us to be in awe somewhat as we consider what it is to go before God. Their dress would help punctuate the fact that God deserves our respect. The office of the priest also deserves our respect. If individual clergy choose to abuse this office, the guilt falls on them but the office should not be tarnished.
And so Good Friday is such a reversal of this view.
God is seen naked and humiliated, suffering on a cross to die.
The apostle Paul would later write to the Corinthians, "For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."
Even as we seek to lift God up in our respect with majesty whether in clothing or buildings, the cross seems to tell us that God is willing to meet us at the lowest of human conditions. This reversal is important for us to remember even as we remember the respect that God is due. In fact, this willingness on God's behalf to meet us at the worst of where we reside is all the more humbling.
I must consider that my respect of God in how we worship should never preclude anyone from God's availability to them.
What does the cross mean to you?
Photo by Jason St Peter via Flickr.com, used under the Creative Commons license.