“Therefore, my friends, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us . . . and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith . . . “ (Hebrews 10:19-20a, 21-22a from Hebrews 10:19-39 )
I have spent the last few days railing against Paul’s “narrow” view of Christ’s role. But today, already weary, I am seeing another side of this; the compassion of Christ. Perhaps Paul has finally worn me down, or maybe the long-ness of the day is making me grateful for a warm and friendly welcome to the presence of Jesus and God. Granted, we need to come “a true heart” but Jesus has even done the hard work of that by offering us redemption. All we need to do is bring our forgiven selves. And maybe that is what Paul is has been trying to show his reader all this time. Christ says “Come over! The water is good, deep and life giving. The banquet table is set, and eternal life awaits!” What we need to do in order to deserve it pales in comparison to what Christ did in order to establish it for us.
This is not to let humanity off the hook. No! In fact, it should shame us into better behavior. Our response to Christ’s gift of grace should be our extending grace, compassion, care, mercy, right relationship and justice to others. Our response to Christ should as much as possible match Christ’s outreach to us.
May you gentle reader approach Christ’s sanctuary with a true heart and full assurance of welcome; and may you extend the same welcome to others. Especially on this day when many have gathered together to raise thanks for the blessings of the year. Selah! And shalom for all of us this day.