Saturday, February 04, 2006

Hebrews 12:12-29

The (still nameless) epistler to the Hebrews exhorts, in fact sometimes seems to plead with the church members who will read this letter: get your collective act together. There are some in the group who are lagging behind in the march, complaining perhaps that they need to rest their weary legs. They need to pro-actively do whatever needs to be done to get themselves into shape for completing their walk.

Many of us have reached a season of life where wear and tear on the joints has made it painful to stand, let alone walk. But we’ve got miles to go before our journey and our work are complete. So we (as my wife did last week) have an orthopedist “scope” the knee, cutting out the damaged cartilage that is flapping around and causing so much pain. The surgery and its aftermath are themselves arduous and pain lingers for weeks, but if we’re in this for the long haul, we trust that God (and time) will heal, and get us back on the path, walking.

We are, as the Hebrews were, all in this together. Especially in the last year we have seen glimpses of what we could become--foretastes of the heavenly feast that should provide ample motivation to keep walking. But encouraged as we are by the prospect of continuing to advance toward the prize of our calling, we must heed the writer’s exhortations to pursue (and balance) peace and holiness. We should note the warning to guard against allowing bitterness to take root in the midst of what ought to be love. And we must not confuse the false indulgence of the glutton with the true banquet that awaits us as our birthright. Bad choices (of individuals as well as groups) may have irrevocable consequences, as Esau’s example shows.

At the end of the trail there’s a “whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on.” The shaking is a mere prelude to God’s consuming fire, which no created tangible thing will survive—but the Kingdom will. That’s why we’re going to keep on walking, straight onward and (post-surgery) without a limp.

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