Sermon in a nutshell: “What is more important than Worship?” (Lev. 12:1-8)
To have child mothers are taking risks! Still they bear children.
Child birth is a risk taking adventure. Many times women die when they bear a child even in modern times when we have advanced medical technologies and knowledge. It was a more dangerous labor in the ancient times. In that sense, child birth is an “unclean” labor that can lead to death.
Even after the birth, the possibility of wrong turn is there all the time. Until a child reaches a certain age, parents cannot sure whether the child is going to live or not. In Mozambique, parents do not give names to the children till they become 5 years old. In Korea, we celebrate the 1st birthday together, saying that the child would live now. Philippine families celebrate the child life every month till the 1st birthday.
Circumcision is a sign of complete trust and obedience to God!
When a woman has a boy she is “unclean” for seven days. That means the mother and the boy need special protection. Here in USA I visit the hospital right after the mother has a baby to bless them. However, in many countries, including Korea, people may not visit the mother and baby for a week as the Bible commanded.
On the eighth day, they circumcise the boy. Circumcision is a sign of total trust and obedience to God. In Genesis 15, God promised Abraham a son. However, in Genesis 16, Abraham had a son, Ishmael, with Hagar. That means that Abraham did not trust God. In Genesis 17, God confirmed God’s promise and ordered Abraham to have circumcision as a symbol of God promise. Through circumcision Abraham and all the male babies confess that their lives depend on God.
Girls are more “unclean” and need double protection.
When a woman has a girl, she is “unclean” for two weeks. That means girls are more vulnerable to possible death. Mothers are taking rest double time when they bear girls. It means longer vacation! While the blood purification period is 33 days in the case of a boy, it is 66 days in the case of a girl. It takes also double time for girls. They could skip the worship longer when they have girls. Life is more important than worship!
Women and girls are bearing new lives. They are “cleaner” than male counterparts in that sense. Women also live longer than men even though they are physically weaker than men. Do you also notice that all the sacrificial animals are male? To reproduce life, flock needs only one strong male but they need many females. That is why male animals are used in sacrifice.
Life depends on God and community.
When the purification period (Child Birth Leave) is over they bring both a boy and a girl to the priest. The parents give burnt offering and a sin offering, symbolizing that the life of a child depend on God and on the Community. The type of sacrifice animal depends on the financial situation of the parents. Poor families can bring a pigeon or a turtledove. After they give the sacrifices, they can now be relieved in the sense that they can expect that the child is going to survive.
Bearing new lives are risky business but we do it trusting God!
As mothers bear children, our mission is to make disciples of Jesus to transform the world. As mothers take risks, we also take risks to make disciples. Making disciples is a painstaking, time consuming, risk taking ministry. However, we want to do that because of the joy that it brings to us.
Who are your disciples that you are making now?
Any community is going to disappear after a generation if they do not bear and nurture next generation. That is why the book of Leviticus deals with this “unclean” child bearing regulations right after the food regulations. Once they establish their “identity” they have to “reproduce” those who keep the same identity. Our church is a great church. We have many people who are the light and salt of our community. The real question for us is now this: Are you willing to reproduce those who are just like you? Are you ready to shed your blood?
- Pastor is recruiting the candidate for small group leaders. When are you calling to pastor Lee to start your own small group with your friends?
- Steven Leaders also recruiting the candidates for Steven Ministers. When are you going to call either Karen Morones (685-3917)or Nancy Thomas (798-4658)?