When my spiritual life feels like it’s in tatters, I often try to hide that fact from God. Or, perhaps a better way to put it is that I ignore God which only makes matters worse. Problem is, I never seem to learn from that mistake. It’s one I make over and over again. What I both love and hate about this lesson this morning is that it is a swift reminder that God sees my avoidance behavior. Not only that, but God sees and knows what is going on to cause such avoidance. God is watching, listening, and truly seeing the way that only God can. And, I don’t know if this interpretation makes any sense, but I was really moved by the first line of the lesson, “The word of God is living and active”… when I think about the word of God I think about two different things. First, I think about scripture, which I have often said is a living document, one that continues to have life, a document that continues to teach us new things. Just when we think we know a passage or a story, suddenly there is something that still reaches out and surprises us. It is a wonderful gift to have this collection of books that teaches us and inspires us and helps us to know something about who God is, who Jesus is.
The second thing I think about when I hear that the word of God is “living and active” is Jesus. We know Jesus as the second member of the Trinity, the Son of the Father who has come into the world to bring the kingdom of God here on earth as it is in heaven. And Jesus was and is living and active. One of the great beauties of the letter to the Hebrews is its witness to the life of Jesus as the Son of God.
This reading stirred my soul and it excited me. One of the things that sometimes happens to me is that I get a bit complacent about my relationship with Jesus; I sometimes take it for granted. The internal conversation goes something like “ Meh, I’m baptized, I believe in Jesus as saviour, I’m all set.” Well, yes, that’s all true. But in these last weeks we have heard some pretty harsh lessons from both Mark’s gospel and the letter from James that have hopefully pulled me and all of us out of our complacency. James made it clear that faith, true faith was a faith that led to action, and I believe that. If I say I love Jesus, then I can’t just sit around waiting for someone else to do the work of discipleship. I have to be willing to do it too or my love for Jesus is just kind of empty.
We know that Jesus’ identity as the word of God is anything but empty; Jesus is extremely active. He lived a life as one of us and because of that, God, in the life of Jesus knows what we are up against. God is not in some far off place that makes God unknowable; rather we have a God who has experienced human weakness, human sadness, human temptation, as well as the joys that relationships with others can bring. God knows who and what we are because we cannot hide from God and also because God has “been there and done that”. It’s a big deal. If we have been lazing around in our own complacency about who Jesus is, shake it off, beloved. This is a big deal and it should excite and motivate us. We can approach God boldly because God understands us, and Jesus, our great high priest has paved the way for us to be God’s beloved children no matter what might befall us.
Discipleship is difficult sometimes; there’s no way around that because people are people; the world can be a difficult place especially for followers of Jesus. But, you know what’s more difficult than discipleship? Trying to live our lives without God. I have tried it, and I don’t recommend it. But God waited for me as he waits for all of us. When I was ready, the Holy Spirit reached out and let me know that even when I refused God’s grace, it was still there. Even in the worst of times, God was there because Jesus had been there before me.
Our relationship with God is not just something that is true for us once we have died; that is certainly important, but it isn’t all there is. Our relationship with God is a living and true relationship where God’s Holy Spirit dwells in us here and now. It is that Holy Spirit that guides us and helps us to always make our way back to God. We aren’t perfect people, and we are going to make mistakes along the way. God is still there, God still loves us more than we can ever be loved. So let’s not wallow in our complacency. Let’s get excited; let’s remember that our great high priest, Jesus has joined humanity to God and given us the gift of being adopted as God’s children. May we love God in all of our actions, being Jesus’ hands in all we do. The word of God is living and active, here today in our lives. Nothing, absolutely nothing can separate us from God or God’s love. May we celebrate that love today and every day.