New Church Life NCL May/June 2018 - Page 33

  ,   a sin offering. The Lord will help you keep your external life aligned with your internal life. Guilt Offering and Confession Prayers Sometimes our unhappiness doesn’t come from a lack of focus. Sometimes, we know we have invited evil into our lives and must repent and return to the Lord. This is when the guilt offering shows us we should make prayers of confession. In Leviticus, an Israelite would bring a guilt offering when he had done something intentional and wrong: broken a civil law; demonstrated a lack of respect for someone; even stolen property. Just like in the sin offering, the guilt offering was usually a valuable animal that would be butchered and burned with some parts reserved for the priest doing the sacrificing. Of course, the fat and blood went only to the Lord. Often bread and wine would also be offered along with the animal, but neither yeast (or “leaven”) nor honey could be added to the bread. The Heavenly Doctrines tell us that yeast in sacrifice symbolizes human reason mixing of truth and falsity which destroys truth, and honey is the same mixing of heavenly and worldly delight that destroys good. Yeast in sacrificial bread is us reasoning about how life should be and honey in that bread is us taking delight in how life is. Prayers of confession should be made when we have knowingly broken the Commandments and are seeking a path back to the Lord. Prayers of confession – just like prayers of refocus – are about finding a truth you love (the animal of sacrifice), believing it is from the Lord, not yourself (offering the animal), and praying for the Lord to help you love it today. You know it isn’t fun (no honey), you know it isn’t about what you think (no yeast) – it is about finding your innocence and bringing that innocence into your daily life. If you are actively struggling with an evil, a prayer of confession may be what Leviticus calls for: “Lord, I have broken your commandment. I ask you for the strength to follow your Word in humility and contrition.” The guilt offering was offered when someone had done wrong, but also periodically at national holidays. The same holds for us; if the New Year is a time when you make resolutions, adding prayers of confession mirrors the schedule Leviticus sets for guilt offerings. Freewill Offering and Gratitude Prayers These are the first three sacrifices: whole burnt, sin, and guilt. The fourth sacrifice, the freewill offering, is about joy and conjunction. Leviticus encourages Israelites to bring a sacrifice to the Lord when things are going well. They might consecrate a vow, give formal thanks for blessings in their life, or just want to give an offering. Once the priest had butchered the animal and taken a portion for himself, he would return the remaining meat to the 209