Thursday, August 18, 2016

Proper 16 C - 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 who is 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 friendlier 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. If Christ intercedes for all of creation maybe even those who do not heed warnings 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 Jesus and in Him we have hope that God will remove from created things the fatal flaw that has led to everything that has gone so horribly wrong with the creation that was birthed in perfection. Gifted with a new kingdom that cannot be shaken the ones created in God’s image will worship with reverence and awe the living God, a consuming fire, forever connected by love to the children God created.

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