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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 4:14—5:6
Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Every high priest chosen from among mortals is put in charge of things pertaining to God on their behalf, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He is able to deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is subject to weakness; and because of this he must offer sacrifice for his own sins as well as for those of the people. And one does not presume to take this honor, but takes it only when called by God, just as Aaron was.

So also Christ did not glorify himself in becoming a high priest, but was appointed by the one who said to him,

    “You are my Son,
        today I have begotten you”;

as he says also in another place,

    “You are a priest forever,
        according to the order of Melchizedek.” (NRSV)

Brene Brown, the researcher and popular author on the subject of vulnerability, points out an important disconnect in the way most of us think: we hesitate to be vulnerable before others for fear of being perceived as weak, but when we see others willing to be vulnerable before us, we interpret their actions as pure courage. It takes a brave person to be vulnerable—and we know it—but we have trouble applying that wisdom to our own behavior.

The Hebrews passage from today indicates that God seems to understand this disconnect. God understands it because God sent Jesus Christ into the world to live just as we live and to experience things the way we experience them. The result of this (we read in Hebrews 4:16) is that we should never be afraid to approach God from a position of weakness. God will understand, and moreover, God understands because Jesus lived in the midst of human weakness.

For many of us, it would be an incredibly courageous move to be vulnerable before one another. For starters, perhaps you should try being more vulnerable before God. God promises to understand and receive you, whatever weakness or need you may bring.

God, please help me when I am weak to bring my concerns to you, knowing that you will welcome me, that you are full of forgiveness, and that you want to help me to be more courageous. Amen.

Written by Adam H. Fronczek, Associate Pastor for Adult Education and Worship

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