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December 25, 2005

The Atonement

The lamb wandered in the wilderness for forty days, parched in the hot sun, frozen by the cloudless nights, and plagued by hunger. Finally, on the fortieth evening he came upon the tabernacle; he entered the courtyard and then the cool shade of the tent, the Holy Place. Passing a large table, he pulled back a blue, purple and scarlet linen curtain to reveal the inner sanctum, the Holy of Holies. Here he found a large chest: the Arc of the Covenant, the Promise. In the center of the arc, beneath the over-arching wings of two cherubim, was the Place of Atonement; three-and-a-three-quarter feet wide and two-and-a-quarter feet deep, its golden surface was cool to his touch. This was the place where Moses met with Yahweh. He climbed carefully onto the Place of Atonement and sat cross-legged, in complete surrender. At once, a great peace spread over all the surrounding area and through the whole wilderness. There was a momentous pause, as if the world was breathing in; and then an intense column of light descended from the heavens, engulfing the lamb. Viewing the scene from outside the tabernacle, he saw his body was lifted through a small opening at the top of the tent, directly above the arc; and all at once, there was no lamb, no Yahweh, no tent, no wilderness, no heat, no cold, no wandering, no hunger, no arc — there was only I AM.


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