Thursday of the fourth week in ordinary time

Hebrews 12:18-19,21-24; Psalm 47:2-4,9-11(LXX); Mark 6:7-13

For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire, and darkness, and glom, and a tempest… But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to a judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to sprinkled blood that speaks more graciously than the blood of Abel.  (Heb 12.18, 22-24)

We have thought on thy steadfast love, O God, 
  in the midst of thy temple.
As thy name, O God, 
  so thy praise reaches to the ends of the earth.
Thy right hand is filled with victory; 
  let Mount Zion be glad!
Let the daughters of Judah rejoice
  because of thy judgements.
                           (Ps 47.9-11)

.  .  .

It seems to me that the occasion for all this gladness nearly goes unnoticed in the descriptions of rejoicing: Jesus. The steadfast love of God is ours in him, ‘the mediator of a new covenant’; the judge and the judgement and the judged all come together in Jesus. He is the Word of God, who is God, and who became flesh; he is the one in whom all the promises of God find their ‘Yes’–God’s yes to humanity, which is judgement and redemption; and he is the one who stands to be judged in our place, and in him (and only in him) we may be found among the ‘just… made perfect’.

And there, above, is the image I keep in my imagination of Jesus, the king of glory, the redeemer, the one whose ‘blood… speaks more graciously than the blood of Abel’. No matter what’s happening in my life, I can look up and see that there is hope for me. Nothing can separate us from the steadfast love of God, displayed so eloquently and so tenderly. God’s praise indeed ‘reaches to the ends of the earth’; how can I do anything but rejoice with the daughters of Judah, and be glad in the presence of the Lord?

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,
  and to the Holy Spirit, 
  as it was in the beginning, 
  is now, and ever shall be, 
  world without end, 

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