Some of my favourite memories are of the evenings when I would stop the Kombi on the road back to Mt Isa, after a BBQ at Lake Moondarra. The family would all get out and, in the pitch black and the eerie silence of the Australian outback, gaze upward at the brilliant stars of the Milky Way.
Now, we don’t know for sure whether St Paul or Apollos wrote Hebrews, but we do know that the author also loved to look up at the stars at night! In fact, he centers his opening thoughts around Psalm 8…. when I look at your heavens (v3…).
For some, looking up at the stars at night makes us feel very small, very unimportant. A tiny speck in a massive universe. Who are we in comparison to the cosmos? We are mere human beings, meaningless cogs in the awesome expanse of the universe. Yep, some people gaze up at the stars at night , and see nothing but how small they are.
But the writer of Hebrews, looking up at the night sky, and singing Psalm 8, sees something else! What you see when you gaze off into the beauty of the sparkling night sky is not a universe that has dominion over you, but a universe that God has given you dominion over!
It’s true that we don’t right now live in a world whose problems we can always overcome. But the author of Hebrews leads us to the first important lesson of his book. Though we don’t see a world over which we have dominion now, we do see something crucially important….. we see Jesus!
This week, reflecting on this reading, we are given the opportunity to face up to the challenges of our own lives and our own world, to focus our attention on Jesus and the glory of being human…..not the frailty, not the weakness, not the insignificance, but the glory of being human.
So how can we do this?
First, by placing Christ at the very centre of our lives.
Second, by being truly human in the Jesus sense, for example:
Exercising great care in what we say; rejecting offensive humour; being self-less; trusting God in the midst of doubt; building bridges not walls; forgiving; confronting failure, and with God’s help, trying to do better.
There are two ways to be human. One is a low way that leads to human insignificance in the face of all the challenges of life. The other is a high and glorious way in which being human means becoming like Jesus.
Rev John Broughton
Hobart Scots Memorial