“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
Hebrews 12: 11
Hebrews 12: 7-13
Whenever this pandemic is over and we transition back to normal or a new normal, there will be legacies, both positive and negative. Personally I believe things will not be the same, perhaps cannot be. Health Services, Government and community relations, society and individuals will all be changed. We will undoubtedly learn and improve but if history teaches us anything we will not heed our lessons sufficiently. The question then is how do we come out the other side of this situation for the better?
At St. Aidan’s Church we often rightly quote Hebrews 12: 1-3 where we are called to throw off our sin and fix our eyes on Jesus Christ the Author and Perfector of our faith. We are to consider Him who endured rejection, humiliation and crucifixion for the joy set before Him. What was that joy? The pleasure and glory of God the Father, the overcoming of sin and death and the reconciliation between God and His creation. As Jesus entered Jerusalem, knowing His future, we read that He steadfastly set His face and went forward; He set His face like flint (Luke 9: 51; Isaiah 50: 7). Knowing the immensity of His goal He endured much, overcame and is now sat in His rightful place of Glory.
Today’s passage starts with the instruction to ‘endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons.’ The principal of how loving parents discipline their children is then illustrated. In short God will use this time to discipline us and bring us closer to Him, to be the people we were created to be. How do we endure? We set our faces like flint as the Lord Jesus did facing our goal, the one for which we have been called heavenward (Philippians 3: 14). This goal is our sanctification and our ultimate eternal life with God our Father. I have used before the illustration of certain waterfowl that I have witnessed in a storm. They simply stay on the water and turn to face the storm. They do not fight against it, nor turn sideways or turn back; danger lies in all those options. They keep their position and wait it out, perhaps inching forward. As we live in this ‘storm of life’ it would be good to simply face it, not fight it or run away but hold our position. In that place we keep or eyes fixed on Jesus and our eternal goal. We are encouraged in certain practices as we hold our position. We are to: keep on loving each other; practice hospitality; care for those who are suffering; be sexually pure; not love money, support and obey our Church leaders and not be carried away by false teaching (Hebrews 13: 1 – 7, 9, 17).
If we endure in this way our legacy, our harvest, will be that of righteousness and peace; a truly beautiful harvest. So in the Words of the Scripture before us let us strengthen our feeble arms and weak knees and ask the Lord to make straight our paths so that we may walk the way of Christ.
To Ponder: Meditate on the suffering of Christ that achieved salvation and reconciliation. Remember that He has suffered greatly as one of us so understands us and is able to help (Hebrews 2: 18; 4: 15). Find peace and comfort in this assurance.
Pray: Lord Jesus help us to approach the throne of Grace with confidence because of your life, death and resurrection. At your feet may we receive mercy and find grace in this our time of need. Glory to God the Father. Amen
(From Hebrews 4: 16)
Praise: He is Worthy by Chris Tomlin
Be Thou my Vision sung by St. Aidan's
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.