The Holy of Holies

Within the Holy of Holies - a re-creation

St. Paul’s Letter to the Hebrews 9:1-7

BRETHREN, the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly sanctuary. For a tent was prepared, the outer one, in which were the lampstand and the table and the bread of the Presence; it is called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain stood a tent called the Holy of Holies, having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, which contained a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail. These preparations having thus been made, the priests go continually into the outer tent, performing their ritual duties; but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood which he offers for himself and for the errors of the people.

The passage from St. Paul’s letter to the Hebrews is read in Orthodox Church on feasts of the Virgin Mary and it illustrates the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God.  Mary’s womb was prepared to be Christ’s tabernacle and become the very place where God dwells.

St. Paul describes the details of the Holy Place and draws attention to the second veil, that separates the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place, the place that contained the Ark of the Covenant and only the High Priest, and only once a year, could enter.

A separation existed between the people and God.  There was a physical barrier, the veil, but there was also a spiritual barrier, Ancestral Sin.  When Christ came and sanctified the womb of Mary and was born, all of that started to come to an end.  When Christ was crucified for our Sins that separation ended in fact Scripture tells us that veil was torn in two!  No longer are we separated from the Father, unless we choose to be by our sins.

Because Christ died for us he broke the hold that sin had one us and repaired the relationship between the Father and His creation.  Each sin draws us away, but through the Church, we have the ability to be reconciled through confession.

Take time during this Holy season of the year to repair that relationship.  Open that veil that separates you from God.  No longer is the tabernacle hidden from the view of the people, the tabernacle is the people for we hold God inside each of us, we are the Holy of Holies.

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