Friday, January 22, 2010

Hebrews 7:1-17

I would not make a very good Jew. There are way too many rules and things to think about. Take today's reading. Paul's point is that it is better to become a priest on the basis of living an "indestructible life" rather than through "regulation as to ancestry." In making this point, Paul uses Melchizedek as an example and explains how Melchizedek was blessed by the way he lived and not by some right given to him by man.

In reading these types of passages, particularly in Hebrews where Paul draws much on Jewish rules and culture, it reminds me of everything one must do and be in order to be considered a good Jew.

Being a Christian is easy - believe that Jesus died for your sins. Although we are called to live Christ-like and love our neighbors, we are not required really to do anything since we are not rewarded based what we do. We are already fully rewarded by receiving God's perfect love.

This has really been an evolving revelation for me because I grew up as a cradle Episcopalian and we had rules. We knelt, sat and stood at specific times during the service and we said prayers from the prayer book at particular times and in a particular way. Each church had its own way of doing things as well - where the priest sat, how he gave his sermon and where he gave it from. There was lots to think about.

But now I know that, although those customs were very comfortable to me and I enjoy "old-fashioned" services still, it was all unnecessary. It doesn't matter what dishes we use at communion or what color the priests robes are. What matters is that we believe that Christ paid our debt with his life and that he rose again to give us eternal hope. It's as simple as that.

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