The book of Hebrews is unlike any other in the New Testament. It is a book that is hard to categorize, as it is not written in letter form. With tightly-reasoned arguments, and the finest of Greek grammar for its composition, along with a few places urging the reader to live the Christian life, it could almost be styled as a sermon.
One of the most famous passages of Hebrews is chapter 11, listing “heroes (and heroines?) of faith” from Jewish history. This list of particular individuals follows the writer’s definition of faith as, “…the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” In our reading for Sunday, August 8, we hear about Abraham and Sarah, and then Isaac and Jacob, who traveled far and wide in search of the fulfilment of a promise from God.
Of course, most of the fulfilment of those promises were long in coming. Some promises only came to fulfillment after their deaths. And so, we glean from Hebrews 11 that faith is not a short-term “fix” in our lives so much as it is (to borrow a phrase from Eugene Peterson*) a long obedience in the same direction. We keep looking forward.
Faithful God, like Abraham and Sarah, we set out not knowing where we are going. Lead us. Amen.*Peterson’s book is named after a phrase coined in Friedrich Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil