I would like to tell you a story this morning about two ways of living.One way of living is one in which people are bent over, infirm, bound up, afraid, under law, in fear of punishment, surrounded by darkness.The other way of living is one in which there is freedom, release, healing, life, joy, assurance that we are loved.I wonder which way you would prefer to live?Our two readings this morning tell the story of these two ways of life and their relation to each other, and leave us with this choice: which way will you liveThe first reading that we heard was from the book of Hebrews, and the writer of that book begins this section of the book with a description of something that had happened many years ago to the people of God.
They had been led out of slavery in Egypt, had crossed the Red Sea and had travelled across the desert to a mountain, a mountain that was holy to them, a mountain called Mount Sinai. When they got there they discovered that it was a place of darkness and fire. God came and spoke to Moses in the clouds of the mountain, but the people were afraid that they would die, so they drew back from hearing God’s voice and instead kept at a distance.
It was at Sinai that God gave the law to the people, through Moses. This law was to be life giving and life enhancing. It was given to allow the people to live in harmony with each other and with God. However, it was powerless to do this because the people continued to keep their distance from God. At first this meant that they were disobedient and unfaithful. While Moses was on this very mountain, being given the law by God, only months after the rescue from slavery in Egypt, they make an idol to worship, a golden calf.
The remainder of the Old Testament tells the story of the people of God keeping their distance from God, of them being wooed back by God, and of them going off again and again. Eventually their land is over run and they are scattered into exile. They insisted on keeping their distance from God, and in the end God allowed them to have what they wanted.