March 18, 2013 by lellielieb
I love the book of Hebrews. It used to terrify me because it seemed so deep and mystical. It think this is because its style is so different and it references the Old Testament so much. Since it’s written to the HEBREWS, you would think I would have expected that, but I didn’t. Over the last fifteen years, I have come to love the language and the message of this little book. It blesses and teaches me. I read the last chapter this morning.
Our pastor has been preaching a sermon series on “Community” from the book of James. Yesterday the title of his sermon was, “No Justice, No Community.” He spoke about the fact that we as Christians are supposed to reach out to the poor and needy. He explained that this does not mean JUST those who are poor economically, though it certainly includes them. He said we are also to minister to the outcast, to those who lack socially, physically, and mentally. He talked about how the evangelical church has avoided this kind of work because of a horror of being associated with the “Social Gospel” of the liberal church. This is wrong. Since we associated helping the poor with liberalism, we became callused and proud. We looked at the poor and all we could see were the reasons for their poverty. We “became judges with evil thoughts.” (James 2:4) My pastor wept as he talked about the attitudes we have had. I was moved and I cried, too.
My husband and I talked on and off about the sermon all day. We want to be involved. In my reading of Hebrews 13 this morning the subject stood out again: “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” We don’t have much money; in fact, without full time employment for my husband, we have a difficult time getting by ourselves, but we are blessed in other ways. We have things to share, blessings God has given us, and we are excited to see how God will use us.
It’s good to be excited about ministry again. Beatings and bruises from the past have made us shy of ministry for several years, but we are healing. As I continued through my scripture this morning, I found these verses in Psalm 92 that gave me assurance that we are headed in the right direction and encouraged me that, through the strength and righteousness of Jesus, we still have ministry ahead: “The righteous flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green…”
It’s almost spring and the sap’s rising! Hallelujah!