Tuesday, March 15

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Therefore, brothers and sisters, holy partners in a heavenly calling, consider that Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses also ‘was faithful in all God’s house.’ Yet Jesus is worthy of more glory than Moses, just as the builder of a house has more honour than the house itself. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that would be spoken later. Christ, however, was faithful over God’s house as a son, and we are his house if we hold firm the confidence and the pride that belong to hope.

Hebrews 3:1-11 (excerpt)

The Bible is filled with stories of “good and faithful servants” who, like Moses, followed God’s way.  And our lives are, I hope, filled with people who try to do the same.  But, as the author of Hebrews reminds us, only Jesus is Jesus.  The Christ.  The Son.  The One who has ownership and responsibility for God’s people that even the greatest prophets or disciples lack.   The One who “built the house” and continues to make us a people, and the One in whom we place our hope.

I fear that the messages I hear (and share) about the gospel don’t always testify to this powerful Jesus.  It’s easier to focus on gospel messages that (almost) no one can contest:  Do unto others…be a good neighbor…give to “charity.”  In working with children, I often hear these messages watered down even more:  Obey your parents…listen to your teachers…clean your room.   We risk making Jesus an ancient “Bob the Builder”  — a character who teaches us how to be helpful and kind, reinforces American values, and threatens no one.   This Jesus might cajole children into making beds or adults into writing an occasional check, but he isn’t someone you’d want to build your life around.  He isn’t God.

If you want to remember who we follow, and why, read the Book of Hebrews.   It tells us that “the builder of all things is God,” and places God in a category all alone.  Which means that Jesus isn’t just one of many positive role models from whom to pick and choose, but rather that it is through Jesus that we become who we are.  This is a gospel truth we can build our lives around.

Prayer

Holy God, thank you for making us your people, and for never letting us forget who we are.  Help us to hear your voice, and to listen.   Amen.

The Reverend Amy Pagliarella (M.Div., Class of 2006) enjoys ministry with all God’s children, especially her own, Nolan (4) and Rowan (2).  She is the Associate Pastor for Children’s Faith Formation at First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest, Illinois.