The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, These are the appointed feasts of the Lord that you shall proclaim as holy convocations; they are my appointed feasts” (Leviticus 23:1,2).
The term “feasts” in Hebrew literally means “appointed times.” God had carefully planned and orchestrated the timing and sequence of seven ceremonies to reveal a special story. These feasts (often called "holy convocations”) were intended to be a meeting between God and his people for holy purposes. The feasts to be observed were: Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, Pentecost, Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles. As I look at the purpose of these feasts (these holy convocations) we have much to learn. I know that we are under no obligation to remember these today because the Law has fulfilled its role, but the purposes of these gatherings were meaningful. These feasts helped people: (1) To worship God and sacrifice to God. There was singing. There was prayer. There was worship. There were sacrifices. There was repentance. There was an auditing of one’s spiritual life with a view to making things right with God. (2) To worship and celebrate God in community. God was to be enjoyed while enjoying relationships. This should never escape us. God is a triune God of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He is a God of relationship and unity and he calls us as human beings, made in his image, to enter into and celebrate relationships. (3) To remind ourselves of our responsibilities – responsibilities in our walk with God and towards each other. Thus, the people were reminded: “We have work to do…let’s get to it.”
Ceremonies have deep value whether they are worship ceremonies (like Israel celebrated), wedding ceremonies, initiation ceremonies, awards ceremonies, or graduation ceremonies. All are rich in meaning and will be lodged deep in our memories. As we prepare for the graduation ceremonies of our college and seminary students (next week!), and our high school students (in a couple of months), let’s look for opportunities to speak into the lives of these young leaders. Let’s find a way to speak a blessing, an encouragement, a challenge, an affirmation that will be cherished and remembered.
Have a great week, and thank you for your co-labouring in the work God has called us to.