Throwback Thursday: So Much Death – Lent 2012

In my daily (semi-daily, weekly, etc.) sojourn with the Daily Audio Bible, around this time of the year we’ve made it through Leviticus and Numbers, having been awash in sacrifices, ordinances, and “emissions” for so long that it’s easy to get sick of it all. But that would be missing the point – the endless sacrifices and offerings all to be able to come to God. And the great weight of what it really means that Christ died as the perfect sacrifice for all sins, for all time.

Welcome to Lent, my peeps – see you at Easter…

If you’ve read my series on dreams, (and if you haven’t, well you’re in good company with the rest of the known universe) you might know that one of them is to live a much smaller life, perhaps on a bit of land, having room to raise some of our own food and make at least part of our lives self-sustaining.

There’s a problem with that.
Reading magazines on urban farming or homesteading, often the subject of raising animals on the small farm comes up. Critters to provide a renewable stream of food (milk, eggs, etc.), to provide “output” to make for a greener garden, and to provide… um…
meat.
** My vegetarian friends are already loading their siege engines, calling for my head on a pike. I ask for restraint – this is not a philosophical or ethical discussion on one’s eating habits, but heading another direction. What you choose to eat – be it animals or the output of the silent screams of vegetables, that’s your gig. **
I’m notoriously tender-hearted when it comes to critters, especially dogs. If a movie includes a scene where the dog gets lost, displaced, harmed or killed, I simply can’t watch it. I’ve had commercials bring me to tears.
Insects, on the other hand, are fair game, at least in the house. I won’t go out of my way to stomp a spider outside, but when the multi-legged demon comes inside, it’s on… “Not on my turf, Charlotte!”
(“It’s on,” for Vicki, that is. I just sit mumbling in terror until she dispatches the arachnid. I’m a true card-carrying GirlyMan.)
So, although I like the idea of having chickens, and would enjoy a stream of fresh eggs, the idea that sooner or later the girls would need to be turned into tenders or nuggets kind of kills the notion. Same with a family cow – good with the idea of the milk, not so much if I’m the one who has to tell Bossie that it’s time for her to move on to the entrĂ©e portion of her existence.
** HYPOCRITE!! I hear them scream… Go tour a meat packing plant! Really understand the inhumanity of how meat gets to your table, and you’ll apply for that PETA membership before you get out the door!

I’ll admit – I couldn’t be a butcher – at least not one who has to dispatch the critter. But I’ll munch their tasty bits after they’re gone, understand the sacrifice of the animal and those that raised it, and appreciate what their life and death gave me. I hope the deed was done humanely, and I hope that they were cared for in a kind way before they became lunch, but most if not all of that is out of my control. Yes, I know I ought to be more concerned and proactive about where I get my meat and how it gets to me, but again, this isn’t an ethical discussion. So just roll with me, ok kids? **
So, in a recent issue of Mother Earth News…
What?
Yes, I do read Mother Earth News. I even read it in electronic form on my iPad so that I save a tree in the process.
Quit snickering at me – I never claimed to be consistent.
Anyway, in a recent issue of Mother Earth News, there was an article about the pros and cons of raising rabbits.
Awww! Cute fluffy bunnies!
And if you get the right kind, their fur can be spun into yarn and made into all sorts of great things.
(*page turn*)
Oh, and bunnies… are… a great source… of protein… and one humane way… to dispatch them… is…
DEAR FATHER IN HEAVEN ABOVE, WHAT THE HECK IS THAT THING????
The Rabbit Wringer.
I’ve got a bad feeling about this.
Billed as a quick and humane way to dispatch… um… harvest… um… cause to shuffle off this mortal coil… um… kill… rabbits.
(I am SO fighting the urge right here to break into a chorus of “Kill the waa-bit! Kill the waa-bit!”)
(Hmmm… didn’t fight quite hard enough.)
There’s even a picture. How helpful. *gulp*
Put bunny’s neck into the wringer, give a forceful downward tug, snap the neck and the rabbit is humanely dispatched, ready to become meat and pelt.
I’m SO gonna have nightmares.
I don’t care how many times I see Gollum drop the “brace of coneys” into Frodo’s lap, tear into one with his bare teeth, and have them snatched away by Sam, telling him that there’s only one proper way to eat a brace of coneys, I’m not buying a Rabbit Wringer. *shudder*
Ok, let’s get off this rabbit trail and back on to the main path. (Ba-dum-DUMP!)
The reason these things are rolling around Steve’s hamster wheel today is in Exodus, where we happen to be reading in the Daily Audio Bible. God is establishing the culture of His chosen people, teaching them His law and how to come to Him. Also giving instruction for the construction and plan of the Tabernacle (the tent of meeting), and the consecration of Aaron and his sons as priests.
And oh my goodness, all the laws and rules and sacrifices. A whole bunch of ’em just to consecrate Aaron and his sons, one morning and evening just as daily routine, others for special feasts, and so on. (And we’re just getting started – Leviticus is coming…) It was a tough time to be a cow. Or a sheep. Or other critters. PETA wouldn’t have been able to keep up with it all – so many protests, so little time…
All those animals, all that death, all that blood sprinkled here, there and everywhere. And for what?
For God, Himself – dwelling in the tent, right there, where they could see His glory, hear His thunder, and know His presence. All that death, for their new lives as God’s own people, His dearly loved chosen people.
I’d imagine that they would have told you and me that it was worth it. The sacrifice pales in comparison with having God in their midst, being His people, guided and protected by Him, led in to the land promised to them, to be His people and a witness of Him to all nations.
Yet, these are the folks that in just a few pages, are going to do that whole golden calf thing, who are going to grumble so loud that they’ll get put on hold for 40 years in the fabulous tour of the wilderness, and are going to have prophets write over and over again about their unfaithfulness to the Lord. God will lament over them, “You were to be my people, I would be Your God, but you turned away from me to gods made of wood and stone. You prostituted yourself in the arms of others right in front of me.”
God DWELT with them. The blood of countless animals ran to allow them to come to God, and for what? So they could throw it all over for a gold cow. Or a wood thingie. Or a stone thingie. Or some other thingie. So they could kill animals and offer them to a thingie. Or even kill their own children and offer them to a thingie.
This makes no sense to me.
But I am no different.
You see, the blood of the Lamb was shed. He was killed – not in a humane, kind way, but in one of the most horrific deaths twisted human minds could devise at that time. His blood flowed, His life ebbed, He died.
And here I am, getting a little creeped out over a Rabbit Wringer. Alright, a LOT creeped out over a Rabbit Wringer.
God Himself poured out His life as a sacrifice. My consecration cost His blood. What the death of innumerable animals could never secure was accomplished in His death. By His stripes, I am healed.
And just like a stupid sheep, I turn away and go wherever I want. I throw over His sacrifice for thingies. I take my thoughts, my passions, my time, my resources and I hand them over to thingies of wood, to thingies of precious stones or metal, to thingies that go buzz and whirr and have bright lights, to images on a screen, to words on a page, to tunes on a device.
And I feel the weight of a poor animal dying that I might have a burger more than the death of the most beautiful One who ever lived that I might have life.
In the same podcast, as we were reading about the construction of the Tabernacle, we also were in Matthew, hearing our Savior pray, “If it’s possible, let this cup pass from me. But if this cup can’t pass, and I must drink it, Thy will be done.”
The One who accepted His Father’s will is the One I will turn my back on…

for a thingie.
If the death of so many animals shocks and disturbs me, shouldn’t the death of God Himself plant me on my face in tears? Instead of being creeped out by how many creatures died as sacrifices, I should be shocked and disturbed at how little I think of His sacrifice. For by my unfaithful life, I show to all the world how little I care that He died for me.
Father, forgive me for my unfaithful heart. I am so easily snared and distracted by things, by images, by words and by anything that comes across my path. But Your blood was shed so that I could come to You. You made the way for me to be free. Remind me of the proper perspective – You died that I might have life, and You willingly paid that price to redeem me.

Thank you.

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