Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost
Scripture: Hebrews 13: 1 – 8
The letter to the Hebrews was written to try and persuade the Jews that the Messiah they were waiting for has come. The Jews were faithful and staunch followers of the Mosaic Law and in so practicing it missed the opportunity to recognize the saving work of God through Jesus Christ. Their lives are weighted down by what to do and what not to do those simple acts of defying evilness and structures that controls the things they were barred from doing by the law flows freely among them.
It is the intention of the author of the Hebrews that the Jews sees that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law of Moses. The heart of the message is for the Jews to see and be on board with the saving work of God. One of the problems seen here is the blindness religiosity can cause us making us miss the simple details of God’s grace and saving work.
We preoccupy ourselves with our religious formalities that many around us who want to live are neglected. Our sense of salvation is corrupted by our own religiosity. This is what Christianity has come down to nowadays. There are just too much formalities. The rules we employ to our faith is overbearing at the most. Many Christians can’t find breathing spaces within the faith. Christianity has been reduced to a set of rules and laws. And many Christians are leaving the faith, especially young generations.
The question we must ask is why do we miss the simple act of grace God is trying to show us? Like the Jews to whom the letter to the Hebrews was addressed, we missed out because we do not want to let go of the norms of our Christian faith. We have become comfortable where we are. We turn a blind eye to changes needed to bring life into our situations. And, we just don’t want to change.
God through Jesus Christ worked for the salvation of the whole world. The new order Jesus Christ brought to the world is one without discrimination. It welcomes all and challenges the order of hierarchical structure that manipulate the laws that governs the lives of the people. So, the challenge really is not so much for the day-to-day Jew as it is for the religious leaders who are enjoying the power they have to control people’s lives. The prophet Moses whom the Jews respected did not have in mind his own dominance. He saw himself as an agent of change who is divinely ordained to carry out God’s will in freeing people. He was faithful to his calling. He bears witness to the glory of God’s work that lies ahead. We should do likewise, becoming witnesses of God’s grace. If we do that, we will not miss the love of God. We will be able to see it and appropriate it in its right time.
-Arieta Mariko, Kiribati Uniting Church
Father God, help us to see your grace. Help us not to miss the important details of our faith. Help us to see you, and not our own religiosity.