April 2020: 'Let Brotherly Love Continue' – Hebrews 13 v 1
Updated: Jul 8, 2021
The book of Hebrews arguably contains some of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring passages in all of scripture. In chapters 1-12 the writer repeatedly exalts Jesus Christ. He constantly shows us how Jesus has fulfilled, the laws, sacrifices and offices of the Old Covenant. He shows us how the new way through Christ is superior to all that has come before. The reader is clearly shown the identity of Jesus as the eternal, pre-existent son, who is superior to all beings and things. This same son came to be born, die and rise to bring many sons and daughters to glory.
However at the beginning of chapter 13 we are suddenly confronted with a list of instructions for the Church. It's as if we are brought back down to earth with a thud! While this may initially seem abrupt, these passages are very much connected (it is the same letter after all!). It seems to me that chapter 13 demonstrates what it means to 'offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.' (12 v 28-29).
It is the first of these commands which I want to focus on here. Verse 1 gives what is a seemingly simple instruction, 'Let brotherly love continue', easier said than done perhaps.
You don't need me to tell you that we are living in strange days. We are unable to physically gather as the Church. The government has told us that we are not even supposed to gather with people outside of our own household. It seems harder to demonstrate that brotherly love, yet continue we must.
So what does this look like for us? It must continue despite the circumstances. Christ has said he will build his Church and Hell itself will not prevail against it. Therefore if the Church continues so must it's demonstration of love.
'This is how they will know' said Jesus 'that you are my disciples, that you love one another.'
This is true now more than ever. So what do we do? Well some of this we are doing already, but it's always good to think it through;
- We help practically by bringing shopping to people who can't get out.
- We make time for conversation with people, especially those who are on their own and isolated. Sometimes just a listening ear is all that's required.
- We share God's word with one another, what is more helpful and powerful than God's word?
- We encourage one another, sometimes a hand written note goes a long way (I believe we can still send letters).
- We pray for and with one another. Over on the phone or on zoom!
We can share this 'brotherly love' with one another because we are in fact siblings. Sons and daughters adopted into God's family.
In his providence, God has us in this moment, in this time, how best can we use it?
May that love be demonstrated amongst our Church and other churches across this nation.