To Whom it may concern:
Please read the first half of the Epistle for Proper 24 Year B.
Steven J. Pankey
Honestly, I was really struck by Hebrews 4.12ff.
The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And before him no creature is hidden, but all are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one to whom we must render an account.
The word of God is living and active – yes, yes, a thousand times yes. The word of God comes to life every time it read, silently or aloud. The word of God is alive in the hearts of those who have heard it, directing the course of their actions.
BUT… The word of God is… sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit – the two-edged sword works for me in the current debate because I happen to think both “sides” are wrong. By “sides” here I mean the extremes (i.e. the loudest mouths). Ultimately it is the sin of pride that creates these sides – and it is only through confession that the church will be blessed to move forward. The two-edged sword of the word of God has, I think, struck both sides. Both sides are feeling the pain of this injury (be it self-inflicted or not) and it is this discomfort that leads to harsh speech and uncharitable responses.
We are all laid bare before the living Word, Jesus Christ. We know the choices we have made. We know that we have not lived a life worthy of the gospel. We know that we must render account. “The sting of death is sin” says St. Paul – here in the letter of Hebrews we begin to undertand that the sting of life is also sin.