Even in the 20th century I am amazed at the number of Christians who walk through life with a pre-Christian understanding of God. In today’s reading from Chapter 12 of the Letter to the Hebrews we see a bright line drawn between the fearful relationship with God in which,
so fearful was the spectacle that Moses said,
“I am terrified and trembling.”
and what we should envision when we pray.
When the Christian prays we do not approach in fear and trembling, we should
approach Mount Zion
and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem,
and countless angels in festal gathering,
and the assembly of the firstborn enrolled in heaven,
and God the judge of all,
and the spirits of the just made perfect,
and Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant,
and the sprinkled Blood that speaks more eloquently
than that of Abel.
Eight different images are used to try and express in human words the beauty of God, the God who, out of love, sacrificed his only begotten Son for our salvation. In prayer we approach not only God but also the whole city and all those who surround the throne of God.
Christianity is not a faith of God and me, Through baptism we become a part of something unimaginably bigger than ourselves. When we enter into prayer, we united our individual voices with the entire city, the new and eternal Jerusalem. We do so unfraid.
This reading invites each of us, the next time we stop to pray, to call to mind all of the above, mediate on the reality of new and eternal covenant forged in the blood of Jesus Christ.