By Marcia Lee Laycock
At a recent writing seminar those attending were challenged to write the last few words we would give to the world before we died. A sobering thought. I’d been thinking a lot about altars lately, since I had been doing a Bible study on the ancient tabernacle and how it relates to us today. The study led us to realize that we are now the temple, the place where the Spirit of God resides on this earth. Another sobering thought.
The Bible study detailed the role of the various altars and furniture used in the tabernacle that was built and carried by the Hebrew people during their time in the wilderness. They were instructed in the construction and placement of the altar of sacrifice, the altar of incense, the table of the bread, the lamp stand and the brazen laver and, most significant of all, the ark of the covenant that sat behind the veil in the Holy of Holies. Each one had a specific purpose. At each altar the priests were to perform specific rites for the atonement of the sins of the nation.
That led me to wonder – if I am a temple, where are my altars? Do I have an altar of sacrifice - that place where I lay down that which is precious to me as an offering to the Lord? I should do so daily, within the sincerity of my heart. Do I have a brazen laver where I wash myself before entering God’s presence? I should do so on my knees, humbled to know that I can proceed into His presence because of the spilling of His Son’s blood that has washed my sins away forever. Do I have an altar of incense, that place from which praise and prayer and worship emanate? Again, it should be a daily practise, erupting from my mind and my mouth like a fountain.
Do I have a table, where the bread, the body of my Lord, is displayed in all its simplicity and glory? Is there a lamp stand, that place that burns with His holy fire that can never be extinguished? I must hold it up high for all to see. And is there an ark in me, a place where the remembrances of God’s faithfulness and holiness are kept? I should cherish them in the depths of my soul, bowing before that mercy seat and acknowledging the forgiveness He has extended to me by His death on that cross.
These altars all require my service, the death of my own agendas and ambitions, the breaking of my pride and a bowing down to His sovereignty.
So these are my few words, words that I would say to myself and to all of us who are writers of faith –
Go to your altars;
the altar of incense, shouting out your praise, your petitions and your songs;
the altar of washing, bathing in His mercy, acknowledging His grace;
the altar of the lamp stand, feeding the flame of faith as a light to the world;
the altar of sacrifice, relinquishing your words, your poetry and prose,
Go to your altars. Lay yourself down.
Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central Alberta Canada where she is a pastor's wife and mother of three adult daughters. She was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone. Her second novel, A Tumbled Stone was recently short listed in the contemporary fiction category of The Word Awards. Marcia also has two devotional books in print.
Her most recent release is a Young Adult Fantasy available on Amazon. Her work has been endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan.