Aloha Friday Message – March 20, 2020 – Anointed for Good

2012AFC032020 – Anointed for Good

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    1 Samuel 16:12b-13a The Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; for this is the one.” 13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward.

John 9:30-34 – 30 The man answered, “Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will. 32 Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” 34 They answered him, “You were born entirely in sins, and are you trying to teach us?” And they drove him out.

Aloha pumehana, a me ke akua ho’omaika‘i ‘oe, ʻŌmea! Warmest Aloha, and may God bless you, Belovéd! Thank you for your response to the COVID-19 VIRUS mailing earlier this week. It is our belief that we should do everything within our power to help contain, control, and eliminate this disease as quickly as humanly possible – and the only way we can do that is to count on God to guide and direct, bless and protect everyone who is working on defeating it as well as everyone who has become ill because of it. We are anointed as Priest, Prophet, and King, and it is our role to honor that anointing by serving God and each other every day. That is why today we are going to look at the meaning of being anointed.

You know that I like to look for “first type” passages in the Bible. The first time we hear of anointing is in Genesis 31:13 13 I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar and made a vow to me. Now leave this land at once and return to the land of your birth. What is the Lord saying to whom in this passage? Open your Bible and flip back to Genesis 28, especially verses 10-22. Now you remember, right? “Jacob’s Ladder,” the dream – vision, really – that Jacob had where God revealed himself to Jacob. A few pages farther on, Jacob wrestles with a man – perhaps an angel? – and he is given the name Israel. What did the Lord mean when he said, “you anointed a pillar and made a vow to me.”? The answer is in verses 18 – Jacob poured oil on top of the rock on which he had first slept and subsequently set up as a pillar – a stone of remembrance. The vow Jacob made follows in verses 19-22; he promised a tithe of everything he received from God in return for God’s protections. The first thing that was anointed was a stone, and altar of remembrance. Who is allowed to make an altar, and to leave a blessing on a place or person? Who is allowed to make an offering of a vow? The answer is … a Priest. Abraham, Melchizedek, Noah, Moses, Israel – all set up an altar – a stone of remembrance – to honor God’s gifts and blessings. This is one form of anointing that we still see today – the anointing of a thing or place as when an altar in a Church is anointed with oil – the oil is poured and smeared on the altar. We have the anointing of a person when a catechumen is anointed multiple times with oil during the catechumenate – it is smeared (epichrióon) {ep-ee-khree’-on} the forehead or chest. We also have the anointing of the sick – also known as “Extreme Unction,” and “Last Rites” Where the oil is smeared on the hands (palms) and forehead.  What does anointing accomplish?

Anointing is a consecration to God of a person, place, or thing; consecration means to bless, set aside as holy, sanctify, ordain, hallow, and it is an honorific act that bestows on the anointed the Offices of Service mentioned above: Priest, Prophet, and King. Anointing is also a prayerful rite to bring healing. In the history of Israel, anointing was made with olive oil – think of Psalm 23:5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. The notes on that passage describe anointing with a perfumed oil – perhaps scented with balsam or spices (See Exodus 25:6) – that is used to honor guests at an important celebration. Oil was poured on wounds, sometimes with wine or “sour wine” i.e., vinegar – to promote healing. The Rite referred to as the Anointing of the Sick is done with pure olive oil. Recall that in James 5:14 we read 14 Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders [=presbyters*, Priests] of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. * πρεσβύτερος presbuteros {pres-boo’-ter-os}. By the time Samuel got to the home of Jesse when following God’s command to anoint a King to replace Saul, oil was also used to consecrate a King, and even though David was only the second King of Israel, he was anointed there in the presence of his father and his brothers. One surprising thing I found as I studied the history of anointing is this passage describing the Emperor, Cyrus.

In Hebrew there is a word “Mashiach.” The root is masach which means to smear, anoint, spread a liquid. The meaning of Mashiach is “Messiah,” which means “the one anointed with oil.” The custom of anointing with oil is a ritual act designed to consecrate  those chosen by God to be Priest, Prophet, and King  such as the prophet Elisha, or the leader of the Achaemenid Empire, Cyrus. That is why we read in Isaiah 45:1 – 1 Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have grasped to subdue nations before him and strip kings of their robes, to open doors before him — and the gates shall not be closed. ALL the kings of Israel were anointed, and Cyrus was a Gentile whom God himself anointed with his Spirit. Now, it’s time to switch gears and think about another material that has been used for anointing – CLAY!  

Our Key Verse from Sunday’s Gospel is part of the story of The Man Born Blind in John 9. I want to take you back to verse 6 – Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud. English Standard Version (ESV) Other translations will read “smeared,” or “applied.” It’s all the same word for anoint. This unnamed blind man became Mashiach because he was anointed with clay by God’s Anointed. This man, who is unnamed, is blind from birth – as was the world in which he lived. He took a leap of faith and asked Jesus to make him see. Jesus’ actions were … well, to me they seem a little unusual. He spits in the dirt, makes some clay, smears the clay on the guy’s eyes anointing him so that he is also “Mashiach,” and sends him to go wash off the mud at a pool in Siloam – a word that means “sent.” The man is sent by the Son of God who was sent to heal the world by washing clean the “clay” from which we are made, by cleaning the World off of us and out of us so the Light – Jesus – can be seen. The Man Who Was Born Blind became a Disciple who did Good because he believed completely and Loved well. At the same time, the people who were supposed to be filled with the Light, to be the servants of I AM, were remaining blind by looking only at the worldly aspect of this healing – the “how” – and totally overlooking the spiritual meaning of the healing – the “who.” Who? A man in darkness all his life saved by the Light because he did as God asked. He went on to follow Jesus and to do what was good and right in the sight of God.

You see, Belovéd, we are anointed Priest, Prophet, and King for Good. We are inspired and empowered to bring Goodness into the world by being Light. “We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will.” As we go through the rest of Lent, and as we do what must be done to endure this time of trial, let us always remember to believe, to follow, to pray, and to anoint because we are Disciples of Jesus the Messiah, and as the Blind Man said, “If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” We are anointed for Good by God. We can do much that is Good because we once were blind, but now we can see (↔ Music Link) The Light of The World (↔ Music Link).

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever —

at your service, Belovéd!

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Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Biblical languages inserts from Bible Hub (Bible Hub: Search, Read, Study the Bible in Many Languages) Visit at http://biblehub.com

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Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

 

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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