New Church Life NCL May/June 2018 - Page 34

n e w c h u r c h l i f e : m ay / j u n e 2 0 1 8 Israelite. Again, the fat and blood went only to the Lord. These offerings could include bread with yeast or even honey; human reason and delight are welcome here. Once parts for the Lord were consumed on the altar, the Israelite took the meat home and presumably had a feast. These are prayers of gratitude. We offer these prayers when we want to. Have you accomplished something you value? Have you had a good day or week? Do you have three minutes to yourself in your office or kitchen? You can offer a prayer of gratitude: “Lord, things are great right now – thanks for life.” This is the freewill offering. Just as the Israelites themselves benefited from the freewill offering, gratitude also feeds us when we offer it to the Lord in prayer. Prayers of gratitude are about the joy of doing so. If we offer prayers of gratitude, over time we receive more joy than we offer. Please also notice that prayers of gratitude and joy seem to be as important as prayers of refocus and confession. When you speak to the Lord, speak with joy as well as with remorse or resolve. The sacrifices described in Leviticus were the central connection between Israelites and the Lord, and prayer should be a central connection for us as well. We have looked at four models of prayer given to us by the Lord in Leviticus: the prayers of habit, refocus, confession and gratitude. Offer prayers of habit every day; offer prayers of refocus when we have become distracted; offer prayers of confession when we have done evil; and offer prayers of gratitude when we want to. They all have their place, and all of them serve to conjoin us to the Lord and bring His heavenly happiness into our lives. The sacrifices described in Leviticus were the central connection between Israelites and the Lord, and prayer should be a central connection for us as well. “O Lord, open my lips; and my mouth shall show forth your praise.” (Psalm 51:15) Amen The Rev. Scott I. Frazier is Assistant Professor of Religion and Latin and Chair of the Religion Department in Bryn Athyn College of the New Church. He and his wife, Nicole (Hill) live in Bryn Athyn with their family. Contact: Scott.Frazier@ brynathyn.edu 210