“The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office; but Jesus holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently he is able for all time to save those who approach God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:23-28
“Let it Go” Frozen
In the instant Disney Classic (at least for anyone with small children in their lives from the years of 2013-2016) ‘Frozen’ - the Princess turned Queen Elsa is holding on to a terrible secret, and rather than confront it (and her enemies) directly she runs away, builds a literal fortress of solitude and belts out her isolation anthem ‘Let it Go!’ Of course, she is as yet unaware that this ‘Let it Go’ advice is very good advice that she herself is unwilling to take! Until she is able to ‘Let Go’ of the hurt and fear of the past and deal honestly with friends and enemies alike, she never quite gets where she needs to be.
Moving on is an important skill. But often one we as humans have trouble with. We can get stuck on events or people in the past, we can continue to rehash our old conflicts, or worse we can just try and sweep them under the rug and ignore them and hope they will go away. But this week’s reading from Hebrews reminds us that the only thing that is forever is Jesus. And all the other priests, all the other stories, all the other things that have plagued our past will pass away.... if we let them. And more importantly BECAUSE Jesus is the one constant in our lives - Christ is always available to help work through those things we can’t handle on our own. If Elsa is the one shouting ‘Let it Go! Let it Go!” Jesus is responding “And I can help!”
The Former Priests in Hebrews after all include a fair number of bad priests. Ancient Israel, like any society, had its share of bad leaders, as has the United States, and most any society, or religious institution for that matter. The Episcopal Church endured long periods where much of its leadership were British sympathizers, confederate sympathizers, and later on ‘White Moderates’ - in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Yet we have been able to move beyond these periods because we recognize Jesus as our Lord, King, and great High Priest, and only in him do we see perfection. Part of the challenge of Christianity is acknowledging that you are not perfect. And that we are in a constant process of repentance, redemption, reconciliation, and trying again.
When the Church is at her best, we are constantly seeking amendment of life and trying to present a better way of carrying out God’s work in the world. When we are at our worst we are unwilling to admit our role in the evil around us and unable to imagine a new way of being outside of ‘what we have always done’. This week after Church we will discuss the third piece of ‘Becoming the Beloved Community’ — Repairing the Breach. Repairing the Breach requires us to recognize that no matter how much we love who and what has come before us, it was problematic. And that in order to repair the damage done, in order to cross the boundaries between us and neighbors and friends who seem so far from us, we need to seek repentance and reconciliation in Jesus.
And that is hard.
BUT it also is extremely fruitful. I hope you will join us for our Litrugy and Living Hour this week to contemplate what ‘Repairing the Breach’ looks like within the Memorial Community and between us and the communities around us.
See you in Church.