Saturday, May 14, 2005

Hebrews 9:1-14

In this section of Hebrews, the author compares the old covenant, which included barriers between worshipers and God, with the new covenant, which provides worshipers with direct access to God. The new covenant is superior because Jesus is the perfect priest, and He offered His own blood as the perfect sacrifice once for all. The death of Jesus provided atonement. It freed us from our sins. It restored our relationship with God.

A few years ago, during a small group discussion in an ALPHA class offered by St. Matthew's, one of our new members tearfully said that he had done something terrible. He didn't hint at what he had done, and no one asked, but it was evident that he was troubled, tormented, burdened. Several members tried to tell him that all he had to do was place that sin at the foot of the cross because Jesus died for us, for our sins, so that we could be reconciled to God. He said he understood, but it was clear that he didn't. A few months later, he left St. Matthew's.

Sadly, that man's conscience had created a barrier between himself and God. He thought God was disappointed and angry with him. He thought he was unworthy of forgiveness. Certainly, he couldn't forgive himself. By not accepting what the sacrifice of Christ achieved, he essentially reverted to the old covenant, which precludes access to God. He had forgotten that we are, all of us, redeemed and have only to ask for forgiveness.

Do you place barriers between yourself and God?

Dear God, when we stumble, when we fall, grant us the grace, at that moment of guilt and doubt, to go to you rather than to hide from you. May we receive your grace and know that you will always welcome our repentant souls with the open arms of a father's unconditional love. Amen

Martha Olson

No comments: