The Day of Atonement has come and gone. The veil once rent to admit every sinner into the Imperishable Presence, clasping the fringe of the garment of the Eternal High Priest as He goes in to plead for us till the end of Time, has disappeared. The Pharisee in me writhes with embarrassment, knowing that he can’t hide much longer, and the publican in me hasn’t yet arisen from the floor, where his face is cast downwards, his forehead kneading the pavement and drenching his pillow with tears. Why is it that we stone one another so frequently? Why is it that we love to triumph over our defects in others but not in ourselves?
The heartless reasoning that we put on as mental clothing, wrapping ourselves in the very vanity that we thank God we’ve been delivered from! Don’t we understand yet that fig leaves will not cover our nakedness before the Lord? Don’t we understand yet that He has already provided for us a covering, the fleece of the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world? We stand proud and cast glances of pious false pity at everything and everyone we feel ourselves superior to. We are caught dead in our tracks as we ready ourselves to stone our infidelities in the other harlot, while ignoring the written Word of God, that His own finger carves not on tablets of stone but doodles in the dust of our hearts.
O heavenly God hidden in weakness and rejection! Becoming sin for us, You have taken away our shame and hold out to us in Your open, pierced palms the Bread of Life, yet we turn away to consume the bread of suffering, of tears, we prefer to remain in our camps and grumble at manna and quails! Forty years are not enough to purge us of our insane cravings, we want to enter the land of promise but without walking there on the only road possible, following Jesus. Instead, pining after dead Moses whose body has disappeared, we collect fragments of broken tablets and stay in the wilderness.
Save us, O Lord! Save Your people and bless Your inheritance!
Help us, heavenly Shepherd. Guide us, quietly but firmly, back to the flock, back to dwell close by the shepherd’s tents. Make us meek again, renew our childhood, open to us the gates of repentance.