But when Christ came as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation), he entered once for all into the Holy Place, not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, with the sprinkling of the ashes of a heifer, sanctifies those who have been defiled so that their flesh is purified, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to worship the living God!
You may wonder how the devotional scriptures are chosen. Well, it comes from the Lectionary text, and the epistle during this season is Hebrews. This letter is such a strong reminder of the significance of Jesus as the Christ, and we are wise not to miss that last sentence. Jesus freed us to purify our conscience from dead works to worship the living God. Rather than enter the faith versus works debate, let that sentence rest on your heart.
Our cultural brand of Christian faith is one tied to dead works, ones I might define as those which separate us, cause others to decide Christian faith has nothing for them, or dogmas and doctrines frozen in time that only serve to make accessing the Kingdom harder. Imagine a church that worships the living God, not just in a service but in the way it lives. A church that worships by seeing God in creation and protects it. A church that worships by seeing God in our neighbors and welcomes them. A church that worships by taking deep breaths and sitting with grief and lament rather than offering words of platitude for the broken. A church that worships by building bigger tables to welcome travelers rather than walls to exclude them, regardless of __________. A church that worships the living God by loving our own lives and those whom we encounter each and every day. Let us worship.