Yikes. I have a big gap to fill when I’ve got the chance. But God is good, so let’s get started again…
Revised Common Lectionary Reading: Hebrews 9:23-28
But as it is, he [Jesus the Messiah] has appeared once for all at the end of the age to remove sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for mortals to die once, and after that the judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him (emphasis mine!).
I had never noticed this before: “not to deal with sin.” I suppose I believed it anyway, because I have learned from non-violent atonement theologians that Christ’s Cross is God’s decisive dealing with all sin. But (at least according to the author of Hebrews), the Second Coming of Christ is not for smacking sin around again, but to save/liberate (judge? set right?) those eagerly waiting for him–we will be adjusted so that we have the capacity to live in God’s re-creation. This is a staggering thought, to me.
I would just like to note, as an aside, that this passage is the reason why orthodox Christians do not affirm reincarnation; according to this author, human beings die once, and afterward face God, who longs to set us right through the ministry of Christ on the Cross.
I wonder what kind of freedom I would walk in if it rested in my body that Christ’s Second Coming is not about “dealing with sin.” Perhaps I (along with so many others!), would let go of the lie that God (the Father) is out to get us somehow, or needs to make sure we understand how lucky we are that He’s let us join his Kingdom. But O! speaking as a disabled man who has so many questions, may Jesus stir up in me, and in every human heart, an eagerness for his return, and for the liberation of all things!