Taking a hike through Hebrews…
I love church and what it means to “keep meeting together”. I have loved the church since I was a little girl. I thought everybody went to church…until I went to school and was surprised many families did not. My family was that family who went “every time the doors were open”…literally. Sometimes my dad was the one who opened the doors. But as the years went by I understood why I love church…because I love God and want to be where He is. Another spiritual growing spurt taught me His Presence is with me wherever I go. There are many brands of churches but there is only one God. Find HIM, cling to Him. Find a group of people who cling to Him, too.
It seems odd to have to say so, but too much religion is a bad thing. We can’t get too much of God, can’t get too much faith and obedience, can’t get too much love and worship. But religion–the well-intentioned efforts we make to “get it all together” for God–can very well get in the way of what god is doing for us.
The main and central action is everywhere and always what God has done, is doing, and will do for us. Jesus is the revelation of that action. Our main and central task is to live in responsive obedience to God’s action revealed in Jesus. Our part in the action is the act of faith.
“But more often than not we become impatiently self-important along the way and decide to improve matters with our two cents worth. We add on, we supplement, we embellish. But instead of improving on the purity and simplicity of Jesus, we dilute the purity, clutter the simplicity. We become fussily religious, or anxiously religious. We get in the way.” –Eugene Peterson
That’s when it’s time to read and pray our way through the letter to the Hebrews again, written for “too religious” Christians, for “Jesus-and” Christians. In the letter, it is Jesus-and-angels, or Jesus-and-Moses, or Jesus-and-priesthood. In our time it is more likely to be Jesus-and-politics, or Jesus-and-education, or even Jesus-and-Buddha. This letter deletes the hyphens, the add-ons. The focus becomes clear and sharp again: God’s action in Jesus. And we are free once more for the act of faith, the one human action in which we don’t get in the way but on the Way.
Hebrews 1, The Message
1-3 Going through a long line of prophets, God has been addressing our ancestors in different ways for centuries. Recently he spoke to us directly through his Son. By his Son, God created the world in the beginning, and it will all belong to the Son at the end. This Son perfectly mirrors God, and is stamped with God’s nature. He holds everything together by what he says—powerful words!
Dear Heavenly Father, As we begin a new study, fill our hearts with meaning and understanding. We cry out for wisdom, insight and understanding so we are less likely to fall for worldview thinking that is becoming more prevalent in Your churches. Help us, Lord, to avoid being overly religious but radically in love with You and others seeking You. In Jesus Name, Amen