Friday, November 2, 2012

Hebrews 13

Pastoral advice on the journey is the focus of chapter 13. The focus rotates back to life in community. "Let mutual love continue (1)" is reinforced with remembering those in prison, those being tortured, etc (3). That is life in community -- to laugh with those who rejoice and mourn with those who weep. Remember, in community, to show hospitality. The Community exists for the development of disciples of Jesus Christ. In order to do this the community must be constantly welcoming new people to the faith and introducing new followers of Jesus. The struggles of the first century world are not too different from our own. Keeping marriages honorable (4) and keeping our lives free from the love of money (5) are the same struggles that we battle with in the 21st century.

The balance of the chapter has to do with remembering those who lead in the church. The author says to "consider the outcome of their way of life (7)" and to "obey the leaders for they are keeping watch over your souls (17)." When I, as a pastoral leader, read these passages I am reminded of the enormous responsibility I have for the souls under my care and for the church I have been called to lead. Verse 18 is the same plea I make (and need to constantly remake) wherever I have served: "Pray for us!" I do not believe church leaders can adequately function without the prayers, encouragement and good will of their communities. Remember to pray for your church leaders -- and pray for all who are leading in our country, our societies and our world. Four days before the US election pray for those who lead and those who will be leading following the election. Do not speak ill of those who are over you (a commandment from the Old Covenant) is still a good invitation to civility and decorum today. When we cease to pray for those who lead and pray "against them" or vilify and/or demonize them we become a people in deep trouble.

The God of peace will complete the work he has begun in all of us. (20/21)

No comments: