Taking the Longer Route
In the busy-ness of our lives, we often find ourselves looking for the most efficient way to complete tasks and errands. Sometimes we value economy of time so much that we miss out on the sweetness in life found from moving more slowly and with greater awareness.
In Ezekiel 46:9 we see the instruction that "When the people of the land come before the Lord at the appointed festivals, whoever enters by the north gate to worship is to go out the south gate; and whoever enters by the south gate is to go out the north gate. No one is to return through the gate by which they entered, but each is to go out the opposite gate."
Some think this instruction was to help with traffic flow, to prevent the people there from being unruly and bumping into one another; for God is the God of order, not of confusion. Or, we could suppose that people entered at the gate that was nearest their homes, but, when they went away, God would have them leave by the farthest gate. This could force them to take the long way around -- the scenic route back home, if you will -- to have time for meditation. This is a great suggestion for us, too. Sometimes we need to take a little extra time with God, thinking about him and talking to or about him with others.
Another great suggestion is that, by leaving by the opposite gate after worshiping God, we are not to go back home as we came, but more holy, more heavenly, more spiritual. When we encounter God, we are changed by him. Allowing that change, and the extra time to meditate on it, sends us home differently in a way that will impact our own lives and those around us.
Let's challenge each other this week (and this month and this year) to be changed by our worship of God, to slow our pace and lengthen our route, and to take the time to meditate on all that we have seen and heard and learned.