A postcard for the 9th Sunday after Pentecost 08/07/22
Hebrews is a mysterious book of the Bible.
Hebrews was originally attributed to Paul, but early in the life of the Church it was understood that it was not one of Paul’s letters. Several other early church figures have been speculated as authors: Barnabas, Apollos, and Priscilla. Because it is quoted in 1 Clement (an early church letter sent from Rome), it is thought that Hebrews was written between 60 to 95 AD.
The intended audience is equally a mystery. Given the title, it seems to be addressed to Christian people with a Jewish background or some connection to Judiasm. But we do not know there location. The best we can tell the audience are second generation Christians that have experienced persecution and are perhaps disappointed or leaving the faith.
The other curiosity about Hebrews is that it is not a letter. Instead it seems to be a written sermon. The author uses some of the most sophisticated Greek in the New Testament, as well as contemporary styles of argument and persuasion. Through this well constructed sermon, the author seeks to exhort the audience to hold fast to their faith.
We will have four weeks of readings from Hebrews, and we will get the “greatist hits” from the final chapters. Hebrews teaches us that through Christ we have direct access to God, and exhorts us to follow the example of Christ by living lives of faith, hope, love, and patience.
A sermon for St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Roanoke, Alabama, on the 9th Sunday after Pentecost, 08/07/22:
Principal text: Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16
The often-overlooked “second lesson” of the Sunday liturgy is typically a reading from one of the New Testament Epistles. This summer we will take some time to learn more about these letters that shaped early Christian theology.
- August 13 – Jonathan Daniels Pilgrimage in Hayneville, AL
- August 14 – Church of the Messiah, Heflin — Bishop’s Visitation
- August 21 – St. Paul’s, Greensboro — Hebrews 12:18-29
- August 28 – Church of the Messiah, Heflin — Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16