Monday, March 25, 2013

Holy Week: post Palm Sunday push-back

[Jesus] is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. (Hebrews 1:3)
Children at First Brandon on Palm Sunday
Along with all the buzz and excitement of yesterday’s Palm Sunday celebration (BTW, the choir rocked!), my “Everyday Christianity” Sunday study group enjoyed a very productive hour discussing the New Testament book of Hebrews.
To date, during 2013, my class has read the following New Testament books (We’re looking at them in the order - best scholarly guess – that they were written).
  • I Thessalonians
  • Galatians
  • I Corinthians
  • Philemon
  • Philippians
  • II Corinthians
  • Romans
  • Mark
  • James
  • Colossians
  • Matthew
  • Hebrews
The-book-of-HebrewsOnce again, reading an entire book in a single sitting (Hebrews took about 45 minutes to read carefully) facilitated a refreshing exposure to The Word that was (and always is) an entirely different experience than the practice of picking out a few select verses for in-depth analysis.
CENTRAL FOCUS: As a complete piece of work, Hebrews focuses on the idea that the “New Covenant” Jesus established has made the first one obsolete. In fact, to help us out, the writer essentially hangs a “This is the main point” flag on the first verse of chapter 8:
Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being.
Temple worship, Hebrews 8 continues, takes place in a setting that is ”a copy and shadow of what is in heaven.” In other words, Temple Worship is at best a flawed approximation.
But Jesus is not a shadow, not an approximation, not a copy, not a hint… Jesus is the real thing. Jesus is – in the words of Hebrews Chapter One - ”The radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.”
And so today, Monday of Holy Week, it’s easy to see how “The Jesus Way” threatened the entireraison d’être of the ruling class. In Jerusalem, the triumphant entry was yesterday’s news and “push-back” was the order of the day.
As Jesus said in Luke 13:34: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing…”
cropped-dsc_00181.jpgLike Jesus, let’s engage this Holy Week with our eyes wide open, and our commitment to be subversive in our culture redoubled.

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