Over the last few days the New Testament readings for the Eucharist have been taken from the book of Hebrews; and what insights they provide. The writer famously reminds us that the Word of God is alive and active. The Word (Jesus) is not some benign, passive entity (why would anyone want to worship such a God?) but alive and, involved. His involvement is at the deepest level of our humanity, our pain and suffering. This is good news.
His involvement is not contingent on how we feel, indeed the message given in the epistle is that he, the Word, knows what it is like to suffer: ‘Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested,’ (2, 18), and that ‘we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin,’ (2,15). The fact that He has suffered and been tested means that we can approach our advocate and savior with confidence assured, of His mercy and grace (2, 16).
Of further comfort is the thought that we can, indeed must, approach Him in our weakness. This is in fact our priestly calling. The priest is only able to ‘deal gently with the wayward and ignorant since he himself is subject to weakness; and because of this he must offer sacrifice for his own sins as well as those of the people,’ (5, 2-3).
Recently I have been feeling weak, bogged down by life, anxious and unsure. The letter to the Hebrews provides much comfort, Jesus knows how I feel, He has walked my walk and, He wants to use my weaknesses in His service. Thanks be to God.
Will you offer your trials and weaknesses to Jesus for His blessing?