Sunday, 2 February 2014

At-one-ment. Hebrews 2

Identification? Heb 2

10 In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. 11 Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.

12 He says, I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters; in the assembly I will sing your praises.’
13 And again, I will put my trust in him.’
And again he says, Here am I, and the children God has given me.’
14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death– that is, the devil 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

125 if that is the answer – what is the question? (vox pop) (5*25), (no of times a man has to be asked to put the bins out), pairs of shoe under the average lady's bed....

ANS: Number of under 18's involved in All Saints Church!

Look what God is doing and do it with Him”- the Jesus model of discipleship. If this is what God is doing – how are you doing it with Him? Prayer? Finance? Refreshments? Promotion? Participation? Leadership..... Gift Oriented Ministry. Good News M&M am – Muriel, Frank & Edwina. Who is God calling to be the church leader in the morning instead of me?
Do you identify with this? 


Hello Mr Jones. Nice to see you as always. Regular as clockwork you are – every Thursday. How is Mrs Jones? Her lumbago? Will you be at the Whist Drive on Saturday? Good. How are the grandchildren...and Sophie? Gosh is she really 16 already. I remember her on her scooter! Right. Pension is it? I don't have to ask do I? Now – do you have 3 forms of identification....! It's more than knowing, or even proving, who you are.

Jesus Identifies With Us

What does it mean when you identify with someone? The Football Shirt. The Cross. The Nikab. The Turban. Not only that you want to advertise your beliefs and your belonging; but also that you accept whatever comes as a consequence of that – good and bad. Colours to the mast.
So on the Candlemas we remember that Jesus does this. He identifies with us. Heb 2:10 reminds us that God's plan is to bring “many sons and daughters to glory” “Many” here does not mean “quite a few” or even “a large number” it means the majority - everyone who will. Hoi polloi (Ancient Greek:οἱ πολλοί, hoi polloi, "the many"), is an expression from Greek that means the many or, in the strictest sense, the majority. In English, it means the working class, commoners, the masses or common people in a derogatory sense. Synonyms for hoi polloi which also express the same or similar contempt for such people include "the great unwashed", "theplebeians" or "plebs", "the rabble", "riffraff", "the herd", "the proles" and "peons" . He identifies with us “perfectly” by suffering the deepest separation for us so that we can know that God our heavenly Father is “in Christ reconciling the world to himself” 2 Cor 5:19. We are the same family (v11).

Jesus Shares All Our Humanity.

Here we have “sons and daughters” explicit – not just assumed. Here we have “children” not just adults explicit. He shares “flesh and blood” , the awareness of death and the debilitating power of it. Hebrews says He had to be made like us in every way so that he could become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God. Without this experiential knowledge he might not be merciful – losing patience with the weak. He might not be faithful – bailing out when the going gets tough or the fruit is uncertain.
Lets talk about children. Its not easy bringing them up. They are not all the same. We are not all perfect parents. We teach bad habits and are too lax or too severe (sometimes both at the same time!). Our children fill us with joy and pride – but also with despair and disgust (sometimes at the same time!). We should all understand. We've all been children even if we haven't been parents. But we are not always merciful – sometimes judgemental. Take care! And we are not always faithful – we can opt out. Take care! When we welcome children we are welcoming people who have just as much right to be here as adults – and just as much responsibility to act appropriately – not to the building, but to their own age and development. But we, as their family, are here to help them and their parents to know that they are loved and accepted - and protected and corrected by that family. We are all to “take care”. This is the common humanity that Jesus shares and elevates to heaven.

Jesus frees those who are powerless.

World views change. Its not that they are better, just different. Today in the affluent west we are desperate to hold onto the world view that says that we are in control – and its corollary, that we are responsible. Every action has a reaction. From homelessness following drugs and gambling to global warming following poor insulation – its all out own fault. Well, if not mine then yours. The old idea of sacrifice to pay for your sins is not so useful for us. The idea of some external spiritual enemy who is active for our harm is not so palatable. So how in this world view does someone make atonement for sin? At-one-ment. An action at great cost to one person that enables relationship between two others to be made whole again perhaps the “peace-maker” model. Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God.
When children and young people come into a church they bring a challenge. Perhaps not intentionally, but effectively. There are issues of content, of behaviour, of noise, of sensitivity. Can we look at them as human beings with whom Jesus identifies. Can we look at their parents and carers in that way? Can we ask what God is doing in their lives and seek to do that with Him? Then, as we try to help and support, to value and encourage, to teach and to celebrate then we will find by some alchemy of God's grace that we know that He is helping and supporting, valuing and encouraging, teaching and celebrating us too.

How do I do what God is doing here?
We have been given at-one-ment with God through Jesus. So we must try to help others to experience at-one-ment with us, in the community, with Jesus themselves. The more we give this away – the more we will have; in our church, our community, our hearts and minds.

Welcome. Befriend. Help. Enjoy. Encourage, Walk with. Guide. Share. Love.
Luke 6:38

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.’

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