Holy Week Day 1

Lenten Study of Oil

Writing during Lent has been one of my favorite gifts from God. It began 7 years ago, when instead of giving up something like chocolate, I wanted to give something back. God has spoken to me very powerfully each time I chose to immerse myself in his word for 40 days, and this year was no different. I’m so grateful for His Word.

This last 40 days I have been studying the encounters of the word “oil” in the old testament. This began as a personal mission of my own to attempt to eat healthier and eliminate oil in my diet. I follow a whole foods plant based diet, and teach and lead others, but there was one hang up I was experiencing, those darn potato chips and crackers. I was addicted. This quest for a diet change has led me to gain even more knowledge about the words of our father and his message for our lives. Have I been faithful to eliminating oil in my diet? Not 100%, but I have eliminated all processed refined vegetable oils in our household. I no longer eat those salty chips in my lunch every day. I see the power of decreasing omega 6’s that were killing me and my waist line ( more about the health benefits at another time, another place), and I now fit very comfortably into pants I’ve had to squeeze into 40 days ago. This change is something that I will continue life long and plan to teach others. But, this week, Holy Week, will not be about my diet. I will move into the new testament and continuing to share the stories about the olive tree and it’s impact in the God’s story. This week for me will be about remembering God’s redemption from sin. His redemption power over and over again in my life. This week is truly about the gift He gave us to free us from our sins, you and me, through his Holy son Jesus Christ.

My first story of redemption happened over the last 40 days. My husband has been away walking the El Camino de Santiago since February 29th. The first week was tough. We have not been “really” apart for over 30 years. At night I felt lonely, and then slowly but slowly I found myself having a glass of wine. Not for socializing with friends, but out of loneliness. I have a generational history x 3 of alcoholism in my family and I know better not to go down this road. Two weeks ago, I shared with you the images of the use of oil on the cleasning of the lepers during the days of Moses in the book of Leviticus ( Leviticus 14). They used the oil in specific places, behind the lobe of the right ear, and the thumb of the right hand, and on the big toe of the right foot. The details of these passages are a little odd. But the last words of each detailed description ends with “ The priest shall make atonement for him before the Lord”.

The following Sunday, while in corporate church, I closed my eyes, and images of this ceremony fell upon me. I imagined the great priest, our Lord Jesus, anointing me with the oil behind my right earlobe, on top of my right thumb, and at my right toe. I asked for forgiveness, for atonement of my sins, specifically the sin I had been committing each night sitting on my couch and pouring that wine into that empty glass. It had become a sin in my heart. My sin. Generational sin that I never want to carry forward. That evening and ever since I have been freed from that need, that longing. It’s gone. Each night something else has filled my thoughts, my actions, and I am so completely grateful. This is just one of my stories the last 40 days. God is in the job of creating miracles and he is still creating miracles every day.

Atonement. What is atonement? Atonement is the forgiving or pardoning of sin. Jesus is the only method for our atonement here on this earth. Jesus himself spoke about his ability to provide atonement. The night of Passover, the night he was arrested, as he broke break with his disciples, he spoke these words. “Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it he broke it and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “ Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (Matthew 26: 26-28) His blood, for our forgiveness. The ultimate atonement. Yes, Jesus, you are still making atonement for our sins today. I implore you to explore what it is that he wants to cleanse you of today? He is willing to do the same ceremony, that was done for the Lepers in Leviticus, for you today. He will take the oil lightly touch your ear, then gently touch your thumb, and then dab your right toe. He is the great priest, no longer do we need a priest to intercede for us here on earth. You are the Leper. We all have burdens that are sloughing off and need to be removed.

Tomorrow we move forward into the rest of the story. The next story in the book of Matthew reads like this…… “And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.” Come along with me and see what happens next, in the garden immersed with the tree of the olives.

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