Read: Numbers 35.6 (NRSV)
All except one of the twelve tribes of God’s people, the Levites, were given lands and regions of their own. The Levites were the family of priests. They assignment was the responsibility of the sanctuary, worship, sacrifices, and over forty cities in which to live. In addition, the Levites were to govern the cities of refuge. A good name of a city of refuge would be Grace City. This system service as a spiritual relocation protection system that allows for those who committed non-premeditated crimes against others to move to another city and have a fresh start. It is likely we see the evidence of this practice in the favorite 23rd Psalm where we read about sitting at the banquet in the presence of our enemies. It is God’s plan of grace that makes from for us even though we are guilty of sin.
A remarkable story of the extension of grace in the Old Testament is the cities of refuge. Imagine God at work in your life and witness, calling you to be a host of grace. Bringing together people who are divided, the blamer and the blame-e, the guilty and the innocent, the victim, and the abuser. Part of your journey of spiritual grow may be to sit with someone you need to forgive or listen to someone who needs to forgive and release you.
How can we make our house of worship a place that welcomes sinners and a place of healing? The exceedingly difficult key is to be honest. Honest that some ideas, behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs are not those of God, even though we might consider them kind, nice, and loving. God calls us to be faithfulness. God welcomes us all as broken sinners in need of healing and wholeness. The Levites were not charged to gather the largest crowd, they were to open God’s grace for those who know they need instruction, healing, and correction. There are those who find it easier to practice church hopping to find a body who will agree with them. The Levites answer the call to open the does to all who want to find God’s righteousness and not just affirm our own sin and division.
Action Plan: Identify someone you could extend grace and forgiveness toward and go do it. Reach out in the tradition of the Levites and call others to join you in repentance and healing. You will be giving one of the greatest gifts you could possibly share.
Prayer: God, send me to find your grace and to offer it to others; Oh Lord, be my strength and hope. Amen.