Tuesday, April 13, 2010


"Then Moses said to Aaron, 'This is what the LORD meant when he said, "Through those who are near me I will show myself holy, and before all the people I will be glorified."' And Aaron was silent."
(Leviticus 10:3)

Bizarre story today. Two of Aaron's sons (the OT priestly family) "offered unholy fire" before God, and paid for it with their lives. I'm not exactly sure what "offering unholy fire" actually means... but whatever it was, God didn't ask them to do it, nor did he approve of their actions. Was it arrogance on their part ('I can do whatever I want!')? Were they "experimenting" with the divine/holy practices? Were they being intentionally devious... or just merely stupid?

In a time when clergy sexual scandals abound - whether it be the molestation of children, or adulterous relationships exposed... "offering unholy fire" seems rather tame in comparison (and we haven't even mentioned embezzlement!). But Moses' statement puts it all in the proper perspective: Those of us who re-present God are called to be HOLY. Period.

Sure, nobody's perfect. However, we clergy are indeed held to higher standards precisely because of our calling. Right or wrong, when others see us, they see God (or at least God's ambassadors). So it's best for us to err on the side of prudence, caution & reverence. Then we must look to the Holy Spirit for guidance & grace, in spite of our weaknesses. Otherwise, we'll simply be "playing with (unholy) fire!"

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