Well, people, it’s February again! If you’ve been reading this blog for at least a year, first of all, thank you! Blogging has sparked quite a few delightful chats and forced me to think more deeply about my faith, with wonderfully encouraging results. Secondly, you may have been around for a Parakaleo Valentine’s Day before. Just to recap- I LOVE VALENTINE’S DAY. I wind up taking the whole month to celebrate, much like the entire month of November turns into a celebrating of giving thanks/Thanksgiving. My logic goes something like this:
The most important thing to me is my relationship with God/my faith.
One of the most important things to my faith is Jesus Christ.
One of the most important things to Jesus is love (as evidenced by His death by one of the most torturous methods in history for people who loved Him either not at all or to a pathetically small degree in comparison to the love He showed).
So if we’re going to set aside a day to celebrate and show love like that, I’m pretty excited. And indeed, I think my whole life should be set apart to show love like that. However, as someone who likes to think about and evaluate things (probably more so now that I’m a grad student), I’ve no opposition to a time to especially concentrate on that.
I was going to try to make a list of my dearest loves, but I got as far as “God,” “family,” “friends,” and “music” before I realized that it was going to be almost exactly the same as my gratitude list. Love and thanksgiving really seem to go hand in hand. So I’m jumping ahead to a basic reminder of the love that moves me so and won’t let me, straight from the source. It’s a bit of a long passage, but I love that it includes the roles of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and tells us the truth flat out: We are broken. We can stand there and try to make it better every day and we will fail except for the grace and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which completely changes us and the way we interact with the people around us.
As a forewarning, I spend a ridiculous amount of time reading and highlighting articles, so when I put this huge block of text here, I immediately started marking it up. The things in bold are just the things that I jumped out at me as I read it this time. I may very well mark completely different things tomorrow, and for that reason I really encourage you to look it up yourself and mark it up and appreciate it as best applies to your relationship with God. It’s Hebrews 10:1-24. Enjoy, and happy Valentine’s Day!
“For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,
“Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
but a body have you prepared for me;
in burnt offerings and sin offerings
you have taken no pleasure.
Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God,
as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.'”
When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,
“This is the covenant that I will make with them
after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws on their hearts,
and write them on their minds,”
then he adds,
“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”
Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin. Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”