A myHT Fortress

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

More Than Meets the Eye: A Homily on Hebrews 9:11-14

Thursday Vespers

Higher Things: Te Deum Conference

30 July 2015

In the Name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

There is more than meets the eye.  And you don't want to see it.  You hide your eyes from the blood and gore, finding the sight of Christ crucified distasteful,violent, and scary.  "Lord, I love you, but working through blood?!  Really?!  Yuck!" 

There is more than meets the eye.  To the naked eye, the wormhole is confusing, looking like a dreadfully violent storm, the likes of which you've never seen.  After a while people could actually see the Chitauri coming out of it, bringing death and destruction to New York. 

The Avengers know what needs to happen.  The people need to be rescued.  They need to be saved.  And to top it all, a nuclear missile is headed for Manhattan, which will bring inescapable death to all.

Tony Stark steps up.  He goes beyond what can be seen, and enters the veiled reality of the wormhole.  He enters, knowing he may very well be sacrificing himself, giving up his life.  He enters the unseen in order to destroy the forces bringing death and destruction.

There is more than meets the eye.  To the naked eye, the crucifixion was confusing, looking like a dreadfully violent execution, the likes of which you've never seen.   Onlookers did not comprehend that this was a result of the crafty Evil one who once overcame by a tree now being overcome on this tree, even while seeming to bring only death and destruction to Jesus.

Our Lord knew what needed to happen.  The people needed to be rescued.  They needed to be saved.  Ever since Satan had deceived Adam and Eve, their rebellion had brought inescapable death to all.

Our dear Lord Jesus steps up.  He goes beyond what can be seen, and enters the veiled reality of the heavenly temple.  He enters, knowing that He is indeed sacrificing Himself, giving up His life.

There is more than meets the eye.  Tony Stark enters the wormhole with an overwhelming task.  And while he is in the clutches of certain death, his friends start giving up.  They wait, but gradually lose hope that he will be successful, and they know they need to protect others.  So in unbelief that Tony could succeed in getting rid of the missile and returning safely, the wormhole is closed.

You are like Natasha Romanov and the other Avengers.  You fall into the same unbelief all the time.  You show disbelief that Jesus could really complete His task, as He hung on the cross and simultaneously entered the heavenly temple, splashing His blood in the Holy of holies.  You doubt He completed the task, and like Natasha closing the wormhole, you carry on. 

You're not crass enough to say it, or maybe even to think it through, but you have thoughts and urges that you need to keep your end of the deal--to be good and please God, or even crying out "faith alone," but trying to please God by being sorry enough for your sins and believing sincerely enough, and so on. 

Dear friends, the once-and-for-all sacrifice is complete!  You don't need to add anything or be anything "enough!"

And "too much blood!" you say.  Can't we talk about Jesus as Teacher.  Can't we just focus on Jesus loving everyone?  Can't we just stop and look at the nice things?  Blood?!

Blood is everywhere.  It was gruesome enough with over 200,000 lambs every year for Passover and all the sacrifices on the Day of Atonement.  The innocent creatures were led to the Temple, and had their throats slit, pouring out their blood.  It is said that so much blood flowed down the mountainside from the Temple that the water of the Kidron Brook ran pink.  On the Day of Atonement, the high priest was clothed in his vestments and entered the Holy of holies, splattering blood all over the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant, with his feet shackled, so that he could be pulled out of there if the wrath of God struck him and the high priest died.  The lifeblood he splashed over everything was quenching the wrath of the Father.

You look at this and say, why the blood?  It's so messy.  Gross!  The location of God's mercy, covered in blood!  Forgiveness, rescue , and salvation, welling up from His blood that issues from the waters of the font; sprinkling you from the mouths of His preachers; pouring forth from His chalice.

There is more than meets the eye.  [pointing to altar] There is where the Lord assembles you to Himself.  There is the perfect and holy "wormhole," if you will, through which the same Jesus who entered the Holy of holies and splattered His blood now comes to you, pouring His blood into your mouth, along with His holy body that He gives you to eat.  Behold, the altar of the Lord -- it's more than meets the eye. It's the location of God's mercy, covered in the blood of the Lamb.  Amen.

In the Name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

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