What to take?

If you are invited out, you take something with you – a bottle of wine if you go for a meal, some flowers or chocolates if you stay, the same or a card if someone does something for you. Some families do this more than others, but we try to be thoughtful. So, what do you take to God? He is our host, we his guests. (And No, it isn’t your collection. – that’s a thank offering, enabling the worship event and wider Christian work.)

Hebrews 10:11-25 has some answers. The Jewish priests kept offering sacrifices day after day. But the author has told us that Jesus was a priest, who offered his own life just once (last week’s reading Hebrews 9:24-28) – and then sat down. Why does that matter? Because it is done, past. No addition, no alteration.

When we come to worship, we cannot bring a fee, or a fine (the price is too high), we come because Jesus has made the sacrifice for us to be forgiven.

With one sacrifice, then, he has made perfect forever those who are purified from sin.

Hebrews 10:14

Not perfect as people, but able to come to a perfect God.

So, welcome to worship. We are not present as those who qualify (“We do not presume to come, . . trusting in our own righteousness, but in God’s mercy”, as the Book of Common Prayer says) – mercy shown by the provision of a sacrifice made once, once for all.

19 We have, then, my friends, complete freedom to go into the Most Holy Place by means of the death of Jesus

Hebrews 10:19

Unlike those who worshipped in the Jerusalem temple, and were kept out of the central space of the temple by barriers and a curtain, we can meet with God. So

22 So let us come near to God with a sincere heart and a sure faith, with hearts that have been purified from a guilty conscience and with bodies washed with clean water.

Hebrews 10:22

There is a reference here to baptism, but also the reality of forgiveness following repentance and faith. That’s how we find ourselves with others in God’s presence at worship. And there are consequences:

23 Let us hold on firmly to the hope we profess, because we can trust God to keep his promise. 24 Let us be concerned for one another, to help one another to show love and to do good. 25 Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are doing. Instead, let us encourage one another all the more, since you see that the Day of the Lord is coming nearer.

Hebrews 10:23-25

It is easy to be distracted, confused or diverted by things that happen, so we need to focus. As we do that there is a responsibility to work together, and not to forget to meet together for worship. There is a reminder of the Day of the Lord – we look to Christmas, and to Jesus eventual return. We need to be ready – me, you, and everybody around. Jesus has done something quite amazing. We can’t add to it, but we need to let people know, so that they can take advantage.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *