Monday, 10 April 2006

A Monday in Holy Week Sermon: A Bloody Religion: Heb 9.14

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 serve the living God. (Heb 9.14 ESV)
The blood of Christ. Ours is a bloody faith. This week attests to that.

Kathleen Norris, in Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith (New York: Riverhead Books, 1998), quotes Rubén Martínez who
cheerfully describes himself as ‘not just a cultural Catholic, mind you, but a flesh-eating, blood-drinking practitioner of the faith.’ (pp113-114)
And so are we. We’re here to drink blood as practitioners of the faith this evening. We’re here to remember and to receive the benefits of a bloody transaction on a cross.

I have to confess to a certain squeamishness about blood. I am insulated from it. Protected. First thoughts are negative—mess, danger, death. I remember visiting Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump and imagining the bloody scene as the animals were being slaughtered—awful word—butchered—no better (but better than our euphemistic “processed” or “packed”). I also remember thinking of how it must have been a scene of absolute joy because the people got to eat and live!

Blood shed for us can be life-giving. And if that blood was life-giving for another month or year, how much more will the blood of Christ be for us—for eternity.

Jesus in John 6:53-55—Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.

Paul in Romans 5:9—we have now been justified by his blood.

In 1 Corinthians 10:16—The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ?

In Ephesians 1:7—We have redemption through his blood.

And Ephesians 2:13—you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Colossians 1:20—making peace with us by the blood of his cross.

John in 1 John 1:7—the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

Peter in 1 Peter 1:19 refers to the blood of Jesus as “precious.”
Ours is a bloody religion.

For us practitioners of the Christian faith this blood is precious, indeed. It is life-giving. It is life-blood.