Wednesday, November 4, 2009

My Reflections Hebrews 13: Jesus' Death Against Politics & For Love Withour Borders, The Sacrifice of Sharing, and Gay Marriage

"For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also suffered outside the city gate in order to sanctify the people by his own blood. Let us then go to him outside the camp and bear the abuse he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we are looking for the city that is to come. Through him, then, let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name." Hebrews 3:11-15

Atonement happened inside the sanctuary, but the leftovers went outside and were burnt. They were unclean; even the people burning the carcasses had to wash before entering the city (Lev. 16:27).

Hebrews tells us Jesus was sacrificed outside the city, where the unclean things happened. The language of "city" and "camp" separates the reforming remnant of the Israelite religion from the increasingly civil "religion." Hebrews separates Jesus from the politics of the city, from the politico-ethno-centricism surrounding Zion, because Jesus died outside the city in order to sanctify "the people" (ton laov, for you Greek readers out there). The people. Not the Judaeans. Not the Israelites. Not the "Jews." The people. Especially those outside the city. The ones who get dirty.

And what did Jesus do to sanctify them? He died. Done. Sanctification achieved. Sanctification specifically achieved for those who did nothing to deserve it but exist.

No, "get a job, then I'll die for you."
No, "clean up your life, then I'll become a living sacrifice for you."
No, "move to a safer area, be more like me, and then I'll die for you."

And what are we to do? Likewise.

Love without reserve.
Love without borders.


"Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God." Hebrews 13:16

Share. And remembered the preceding verses? The ones about "the people," those outside the city? Those who are not part of the politico-ethico-religion inside the city? That is, those who aren't "Jews," or, in our case, Christian? Share with them, too.

There are different kinds of living sacrifices. Sharing is just one of them.


The following is a bit judgmental. Please forgive my tone. Don't forgive the love that boiled into a bit of anger.

In Light of Maine's Recent "Defeat" of Gay Marriage

Consider Hebrews 13:4: "Let marriage be held in honor by all, and let the marriage bed be kept undefiled; for God will judge fornicators and adulterers." None of us can lay aside our biases, as much as we would like to. Therefore, I am not "objective" in my reading of this passage in light of Maine's recent vote on gay marriage.

But my bias on gay marriage doesn't matter right now. If you think homosexual couples are defiling the marriage bed by being homosexual, then your reading of a verse like Hebrews 13:4 says why you should be concerned: for love of the homosexuals. The author of Hebrews wants no one to be judged by God and therefore tells people to keep the marriage bed holy.

If you think homosexuality is wrong and you care for homosexuals, why place your concern in the ballot? Let's be honest, homosexuals are going to have sex whether you let them get married or not. Sex is marriage in the Bible, friends. When Jacob met Rebekah at the end of Genesis 24, he took her into a tent and they became married when they copulated. The only marital bed you can keep holy is your own. If you are concerned about the judgment of homosexuals--which means you care about the homosexuals, actively--then you need to befriend homosexuals. Really befriend them. Friendships don't start off with judgments, by the way.

After you love GLBT persons, then go to the voting booth. What will you accomplish there, anyways?

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