True worship: keeping the fire burning

In front of the entrance to the Tabernacle, in the open air, was a large bronze altar for the burning of sacrifices. The fire in it was no ordinary fire, but the sacred fire that had been kindled by God Himself when Israel’s worship had been inaugurated at Mount Sinai (Leviticus 9:24). This was, obviously, an unrepeatable event – and so that fire had to be kept burning and not allowed to go out (Leviticus 6:13). Every day, for generations afterwards, the priests carefully stoked and tended it, for it symbolised Israel’s unceasing worship.

“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that openly profess His name.” (Hebrews 13:15) At Pentecost, as at Sinai, God sent down fire – the fire of the Holy Spirit – to ignite the worship of His Church (Acts 2:1-11). And we have a similar responsibility to keep that fire burning. “Do not quench the Spirit” (I Thessalonians 5:19) – but sometimes the Church seems to come perilously close to doing just that and relying on human effort alone. And we can also let the flame burn low through simple neglect… we need to fuel our relationship with God by reading His word and praying to Him, ideally on a daily basis.

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