Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin.
Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.
Heb 4:14-16, 5:7-9
My mind is not centered, I just wander from news to text message, from my book to the window. My heart aches. The street feels lonely and in this loneliness, the rain mixed with snow is full of a beauty of its own. The stripping of the Altar was supposed to have taken place on Maundy Thursday. It is now Good Friday, and not because I purposely intended but out of circumstances, I come before the cross, stripped of everything I took for granted.
The author of Hebrews tells us to “hold fast to our confession”, but the silence is overwhelming. Nonetheless, it is in this silence that I ‘hold fast’ more than ever that the cross is the way by which heaven is opened to us, and the way the Son takes us back to God. The silent contemplation of the cross and Jesus’ death becomes the contemplation of the here and now, our individual pain and our collective suffering. We are told that “in the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears”. He understands our suffering because he himself suffered but he understands also because he was there too when we were weak: he was there with us. He knows our confession. In the middle of the heart-felt silence, there is an inner experience of dialogue between our soul and God in prayer. He loved us first. Nothing is more meaningful in our relationship with God than to be the undeserved recipient of his mercy and his grace. It seems that we were created for this dialogue with God; it is like looking at God from within, and in doing so, he leads us into a process of discovering oneself in him and for him. And we are providentially transformed into the being we were originally created to be. Prayer is made possible by the indwelling of the Spirit within us, praying for us – interceding for us, so that we can, in body and soul, stand before the throne of grace, continuously receiving and giving. This participation in Christ starts at the foot of the cross.
This Hebrews passage is a call to be brave and confident because we are loved. Furthermore, we are stripped- but to be transformed. Look out the window and the beauty will be revealed. Even if we are observing physical distancing, we are determined not to be spiritually isolated and by his grace, we continue to strengthen our sense of community. Many are working to help those in need. Many at home are praying for the world. And everyone is playing their part in this joint effort of solidarity. Our church is sharing the Word of God and we, the church, are witnesses of his forgiveness and love, forgiving and loving one another. “Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need”.
– Fresia Saborio