Put your head in God’s lap?

I was caused to think this morning of the Mercy Seat – both in the Tabernacle and in a Salvation Army Hall. The Jewish mercy seat was the space above the Cherubim, on the lid of Ark of the Covenant, where God was believed to sit in judgement. The High Priest on the Day of Atonement came to offer sacrifice for the nation’s sins. No one else was allowed to enter the Most Holy Place because to see God as to die.

In The Salvation Army, the Mercy Seat (also called the Penitent Form) is open for all to see, usually built into the front of the platform, below the spot where the preacher stands. An invitation is given in most meetings to use this place to meet with God. Generally a seeker kneels at this wooden bench, in reverence and submission to God. Since the two main purposes of coming forward are to find Salvation or Sancitification, there are present in the act the assumptions of judgement and mercy on the part of God.
Yet another picture came to me this morning. Since we call God “Father”, is there not also a sense in which we kneel before him, our head in his lap as we weep over our sins, failures, weaknesses and sense of loss? For those who do not feel the need to confess great sins, whose lives are generally clean except for the everyday grime of life, perhaps this is a better picture of what takes place. And offering such alternative views may just encourage a few more people to make use of this precious avenue of communion with God.

About prophetable

My wife Elizabeth and I were commissioned as Officers (ministers) in The Salvation Army in 1997, and have served in appointments in England and Scotland. Since July 2016 I have been working in The Salvation Army's Scotland Office as combined parliamentary and ecumenical representative.
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