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Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. 3 He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
5 For to which of the angels did God ever say,
“You are my Son;
today I have begotten you”?
“I will be his Father,
and he will be my Son”?
6 And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,
“Let all God’s angels worship him.”
7 Of the angels he says,
“He makes his angels winds,
and his servants flames of fire.”
8 But of the Son he says,
“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
and the righteous scepter is the scepter of your kingdom.
9 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”
“In the beginning, Lord, you founded the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands;
11 they will perish, but you remain;
they will all wear out like clothing;
12 like a cloak you will roll them up,
and like clothing they will be changed.
But you are the same,
and your years will never end.”
As a servant to a faith community, I have the privilege of presiding at the sacraments that commemorate events across the span of life. I am there for baptisms, confirmations, weddings, and funerals. As more time passes, it feels like these rites live closer and closer together. Years merge together, and memories grow crowded like the growing number of framed pictures on my mantel that try to hold all the moments in one place. Each of these moments maintains its place as both distinct and interconnected, yet this vision in Hebrews of the circle of all of life captures my imagination more. It reminds me that all the sacraments are part of one healing sacrament, born in the vision where God’s throne is forever. All our journeys begin and end with God, and the sacraments remind us of the consummation of love’s highest order to return to our Creator, who is eternal.
Long ago, on the first morning after God declared creation to be good, the beacon of humanity’s redemption was a speck in the eye of the Creator. It was already formed and simply waiting to be brought forth. In God’s timing, there is no beginning and no ending. There is only the eternal now. Jesus—both exalted one and atonement, heir of all and present at creation, the beginning and the end. Such an idea is prescient to us on the final day of December.
As we reach the end of another year, I can feel the pulse of a new year starting to beat. Such a rhythm resounds in the vein of God’s hands, where the temporal and eternal meet in a holy kiss.
May God open our eyes to what lies before us, extend us the grace to bless what lies behind us, and then welcome us into the now of Christ’s reign.
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Scripture Reading from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.