Experience silence in the midst of your busy day. Take some time to relax into a time to be with God.
Hebrews 13:7-21 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you; consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings; for it is well for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by regulations about food, which have not benefited those who observe them. We have an altar from which those who officiate in the tent have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also suffered outside the city gate in order to sanctify the people by his own blood. Let us then go to him outside the camp and bear the abuse he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we are looking for the city that is to come. Through him, then, let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls and will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with sighing—for that would be harmful to you.
Pray for us; we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things. I urge you all the more to do this, so that I may be restored to you very soon.
Now may the God of peace, who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, make you complete in everything good so that you may do his will, working among us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
“The rest of the Story” was a radio show beginning in the mid 70’s, where only part of the story was given – leaving the listeners wanting for more. The conclusion of the story would include ‘parts’ left out and the tagline for the show became: “and now you know the rest of the story.”
I feel like today’s continuation of yesterday’s text is kind of like Paul Harvey’s show. It is difficult to really grasp the depth of Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16 without seeing the rest of it. Love, as continued from yesterday finds itself in the steps of Christ. Those footsteps lead to Christ, who is outside the city gate, outside the safety and security of a community. It seems that welcoming the stranger and offering hospitality does not simply mean to ‘wait on the inside’ for them to come to us, but that we are to go out and follow Christ to find those strangers looking for a hospitable place.
This is not easy. Love rarely is. We are called to go and suffer for the sake of others. In doing so, we live into that ‘city’ that is to come. We live into the Kingdom of Heaven coming to earth. And so, we go seeking out the stranger in need of love. We go confessing God’s name. We go doing good and sharing what we have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. We go, because love is the only way. We go, following Jesus and other great leaders of faith, who left the city gates, who left the four walls of the church, who went where love would take them – and we do so with joy. So dear friends, that is the rest of the story.
Creation’s Author, we love to tell the stories of Jesus, but so often we only tell those parts that are easy. Oh, the half has never yet been told. May we read and re-read the full story of Jesus. The easier parts and the more difficult. The parts of forgiveness and repentance. The parts of love and sacrifice. The parts of strength and meekness. Our stories are not yet complete, may we do Your will which is pleasing in Your sight, through Jesus Christ our Lord! Amen.
Go with God!