Pastor John's Daily Briefing-September3, 2020

Pastor John's Daily Briefing-September3, 2020

To all the saints in Christ Jesus,


Today, as we continue to guide our way through the changes and adaptations of living amidst a viral pandemic that has stretched beyond all imagination, may we also continue to look in the direction of God and the way of life promised by God through the life, teaching, death, and resurrection of Christ Jesus. 


A good place to engage in this reflection is the guidance and counsel offered by the writer of Hebrews in chapter 10:19-25, where the focus is on the "new and living way" of life lived in faith and hope. "Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh), and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water" (10:19-22).


The effect of God's gift in Christ is that we as his followers can now approach God and all that life offers with a "true heart." This "true heart" represents a way to live life as God intends it to be; a "true heart" is able to see and discern God's presence and activity in the world in which we live; a "true heart" feels what God feels in the practice of life apart from sin and its devastating consequences. A "true heart" is expressed in the full confession and conviction of faith, even amidst troubling times.


Because of the actions of Christ Jesus, who died for us and made, once and for all, purification of sin, we, through the gift of faith, can now approach life as no longer held captive by sin but freed to honor God and share the hope God has for us in our love and care for one another. Our confession of faith, the true and proper recognition of what Christ has done and continues to do on our behalf, leads to hope, a way to see and be guided into the future solely because and through the faithfulness of God in Christ Jesus: "Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful" (10:23)


Hope initially leans us in the direction of God's promises, but then enables the faithful to bear upon that hope in the way we are to relate to one another: "And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching" (10:24-25). Hope leans into today with provocative love and encouraging goodness even in the midst of the dark shadows of hurt and separation. 


The writer of Hebrews himself recalls the experiences of "those earlier days when after you had been enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings... For you had compassion... and you cheerfully accepted the plundering of your possessions, knowing that you yourselves possessed something better and more lasting. Do not, therefore, abandon that confidence of yours; it brings a great reward" (10:32-35).


Stay confident in the faithfulness of Christ Jesus, confess the faith that leans into hope, and let that hope direct you into the ways of love and encouragement., that is, life in the presence of God.


Peace and blessing!  Pastor John