Hebrews 12.4-7,11-15; Ps 102; Mark 6.1-6
To enter into the presence of God is an experience of terror; ancient Israel at Mount Sinai heard peals of thunder and a trumpet blast whilst lightning flashed and a dense cloud covered the mountain. The people shook with fear. ‘Speak to us yourself’ they said to Moses ‘and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, or we shall die.’ [Exodus 19.16-20; 20.19] And yet the human heart yearns to draw closer to God, to hear the Voice which speaks peace to his people. [Psalm 84(85).8] The author of Hebrews is convinced that by what he describes as ‘persevering faith’, a faith that ‘can guarantee the blessings that we hope for’ [Hebrews 11.1], faith in which we are led by the Jesus who himself makes up all that is missing in us [12.2], we can enter into the presence of God and find it not an experience of terror but of joy and reunion. God’s city is a place where everyone is a ‘first-born son’ (entitled to a double share of inheritance) and a citizen (with all prerogatives that pertain to that; cf Acts 22.28) of heaven.