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The Coronation of Aragorn and the New Covenant

October 28, 2022

In a new book entitled Welcoming Gifts: Sacrifice in the Bible and Christian Life, Archimandrite Jeremy Davis speaks of the day Moses establishes the Old Covenant, as recording in Exodus 24, in which Moses sprinkles the blood of the sacrifice upons the horns of the altar, and then upon the people. Fr Jeremy points out that the blood, being the life of the sacrificial animal, symbolizes the people dedicating and pledging their lives to the obedience of God by way of the Law. The sprinkling of blood on the people is God’s pledge to them. Thus the sealing of the Covenant is a two-way pledge of commitment. Our part is subject to our human frailty, by God can never fail. As saith David in the psalms, “Save me, O God, by Thy name, and judge me by Thy strength” (Psalm 53 LXX).

In an even more extraordinary act of grace, God in Christ establishes the New Covenant. As Fr Jeremy states in the seventh chapter of his book, in the section titled “Christ Perfected Every Type Of Sacrifice”, He “Sprinkled” his blood on the Cross, as the gesture of dedication toward God, on our behalf, while also “sprinkling” us as His pledge to us, as God, and on behalf of His Father. As I was reading this, a couple things flashed into my mind (like a flash of epiphany, but in the way that is wont to jumble around in my confused mind): Christ “sprinkles” on us is in the very giving of His blood to us in the Chalice (“This is my blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for you, and for many, for the forgiveness of sins” – Divine Liturgy Anaphora) Not a sprinkling that is external, but a gift and reception into our very core through ingestion: Holy Communion. His promise leads to the Spirit of Promise, and a pledge to be with us to the end of the Age.

How does this relate to the Coronation of Aragorn? In the brief description of Aragorn’s reception of the ancient crown of the Kings of Gondor, Faramir is said to have asked the people if they would have Aragorn as king. To this the people enthusiastically cry, “Yea!” They pledge themselves to him, and Aragorn pledges himself to them. In the case of the Mosaic Covenant, the people are asked if they will obey and follow all the words of the law, to which they declare their pledge of obedience and lives. While we know Israel failed, not by weakness of the Law, but their failure to mix the reception of the Law with faith (Hebrews), God never failed them, nor does He fail us. In the sacrament of our reception into the Life In Christ, in the Church we are both asked to renounce the world and satan, as well as declare we unite ourselves to Christ. We are asked if we WILL unite ourselves to Christ (future), if we ARE united to Christ (presently), and if we HAVE UNITED ourselves to Christ (past). But unlike the Old Covenant, our reception into the New Covenant only achieved by Christ Himself. As we declare in the prayer of the Anaphora, during the Divine Liturgy, Christ is both the One who is offered, and the One by offered, while also being the One receiving the offering. And like the sacrifice performed by Moses of old, even though we really offer nothing at all, He receives it as a gift, as if it was from our hands. He does, and has done it all!

It’s hard to believe it’s been six years since I have posted anything. But I came to realise back then I don’t really have anything profound to say, and therefore should remain in silence and learn, rather than pontificate endlessly. Forgive me for breaking that silence, as I’m sure it’s a better service than a bunch of ramblings!

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