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Monday, January 4, 2010

What I'm reading today: Hebrews 1-3

Welcome Back!

As I hinted in my last entry on Christmas Day, I've decided to take a different approach toward my daily blog entries.

I'll be continuing with a daily devotion as a part of my spiritual life - but I'm not going to use a scripted lectionary program. Instead, I'll be loosely working with Eugene Peterson's The Message: Remix - PAUSE edition. I say loosely working with the material because I'm going to adapt the reading schedule so I read just one book at a time. The notion of reading 3-4 passages each day has always caused me to feel a bit unfocused. Therefore, I'll allow myself to focus this year. I decided to start the new year reading the New Testament. During my vacation last week, I read the Gospel of John. Today, I started with the book of Hebrews and read the first 3 chapters. So my reading schedule will be one of the changes I'll be making.

The second change I'll make is that my daily entries won't be restricted to reflecting solely on scripture. I want to open myself up to exploring other areas where faith and life intersect. This means some days I might reflect on something I read in the newspaper while other days I might explore something that came up for me either while I was watching television or sitting in a time of meditation.

Enough said about changes, now. I'm sure other changes will arise as the days unfold. I don't want to try to script them too far in advance. I want to be open to them as they emerge.

All of this brings me to today's entry. In reading the first three chapters of Hebrews, one word kept coming up for me. That word is sacrifice. I'm not personally a huge fan of theological positions that define the work of Jesus solely in sacrificial terms (i.e. Jesus died to wash away our sins). I tend to think of the impact of Jesus' life and death in much broader terms.

Last Friday, a friend emailed me a link to a video that got me to think about this notion of sacrifice in new ways. The video tells a piece of the story of a young man who's name is Patrick Henry Hughes. Patrick was born 19 years ago without any eyes and with severe physical limitations. The video goes on to explore the "sacrifices" Patrick's father has made to give Patrick a life that is as normal as possible.

Some would define the notion of sacrifice narrowly and suggest that his father's actions are sacrificial because Patrick's dad puts Patrick's needs before his own. I think it's more complicated than that. I think Patrick's father benefits greatly from his investment as well.

After you watch the video, I would invite you to spend some time thinking about what the word "sacrifice" means to you.

Take care and thanks for joining me on the next leg of my journey into 2010 and beyond.

Til next time...

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