Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Pentecost 13c - Hebrews 12:18-29

Hebrews 12:18-29

Accept the grace of God or else get burned. Not the best way to start a Wednesday afternoon, but then this text is not about nice. It’s about the living God, a consuming fire that shakes things up. I will admit I prefer the “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” image of God, so of course I will try to paint the “our God is a consuming fire” warning from heaven in a more friendly light. It may not be that hard if the mediator of the new covenant, whose blood speaks a better word than Abel, speaks for us. Then maybe a consuming fire and a warning from heaven, from which we cannot escape, is good news even if we don’t heed the warning. For we do not come to a mountain of fire and smoke that makes one tremble and faint for fear but to a holy hill where the God who is a consuming fire was himself consumed by the cross so those who do not heed warnings might become the righteous made perfect. So what’s the point of a warning word if everyone gets off scot-free? That misses the point. No one gets a pass on judgment for the truth is we are all guilty to one degree or another. But judgment is the penultimate word, which is just a fancy way of saying it is not the last word. The last word, the ultimate word, is that God will remove created things fatally flawed so that gifted with a new kingdom that cannot be shaken we might worship with reverence and awe the living God, a consuming fire forever connected by love to the creation.

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