Access Denied

What could be more frustrating, more aggravating, or more insulting than the words “Access Denied”?

There was a time when my family did not belong to the local YMCA. My water bug daughter longed to have access to the pool there and frequently remarked that she would do anything to be allowed to swim every day.

Then, we joined the Y and we were granted access to the much longed for pool and Hannah did, indeed, swim at every chance she got. In fact, she was such a devoted swimmer there were predictions that before long she would be a lifeguard, a swim instructor, or Director of the Y.

That was five years ago. We’re still members of the Y but I think it’s been three years since Hannah has so much as gotten her toe wet in their pool.

This Sunday, we sang one of my favorite praise songs “Take Me in to the Holy of Holies, take me in by the blood of the Lamb, Take me in to the Holy of Holies, Take the coal, cleanse my lips, Here I am.”

When God instructed the Ancient Israelites to build the Tabernacle and (later the temple), the Holy of Holies or Most Holy Place was the most inner room and access to it was severely restricted. This perfect cube, separated from the rest of the place of worship by a heavy veil was the room where God dwelled when He was among His people. The veil represented the barrier that existed between a Holy God and sinful humans.

No one was allowed access to the Holy of Holies except the High Priest and then, only on one day a year – the day of atonement – after much ritual cleansing and bringing with him the blood that he would offer on behalf of his own sin’s and the sins of his people.

As a Gentile woman – of non-Jewish heritage – I would never have gotten anywhere close to this type of access to God. If you use a reverse zoom lens in history and begin at the Holy of Holies and then zoom out – I’m at the cooking tent with the barbarian tribe way off to the left trying to carve a god out of a tree limb left over from the evening’s campfire.

Until Jesus.

His coming divided time and at the moment He died, the veil that prevented access to the Most Holy Place was rent in two.

And a twenty-first century Gentile woman was accepted into the holy priesthood and granted access to the Most High God in the place where He resides.

“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body …let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith.” (Hebrews 10:19-22)

As I sang Sunday, I asked myself how often I take advantage of this ultimate privilege. I don’t mean how often do I talk about meeting with God, write about meeting with God, read about meeting with God or think about meeting with God. I mean, how often do I actually spend time in His presence?

I have been granted absolute access to God, to His most inner sanctum, to the place of transformation, direction, healing, petition and face-to-face worship. With this kind of access, you’d think people would ask me, as the Jews asked Moses, to veil my face to shield them from the reflected glow of God’s Shekinah glory. You’d think.

So, as I was singing, I realized there is something more aggravating, more frustrating, more insulting, indeed sadder and more haunting than the words “Access Denied” –

“Access Ignored.”

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