Hebrews 12: 18-29
18 You have not come to something that can be touched, a blazing fire, and darkness, and gloom, and a tempest, 19and the sound of a trumpet, and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that not another word be spoken to them. 20(For they could not endure the order that was given, ‘If even an animal touches the mountain, it shall be stoned to death.’21Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, ‘I tremble with fear.’) 22But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
25 See that you do not refuse the one who is speaking; for if they did not escape when they refused the one who warned them on earth, how much less will we escape if we reject the one who warns from heaven! 26At that time his voice shook the earth; but now he has promised, ‘Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heaven.’ 27This phrase ‘Yet once more’ indicates the removal of what is shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. 28Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us give thanks, by which we offer to God an acceptable worship with reverence and awe;29for indeed our God is a consuming fire.
Devotion by Anne Mooney
This passage sounds intimidating and rather gloom and doom-like. The writer of Hebrews is reminding the readers of a time when the Israelites were camped near Mt. Sinai and Moses was leading them through the wilderness after their escape from Egypt. God’s voice was fearsome and even Moses was afraid. Then the author offers a look to the future and a suggests a vision of another mountain, Mt. Zion. Mt. Zion was the home of Jerusalem, but it had also come to mean the place of God’s Kin-dom. It would be a place of joy and celebration, the home of God, Jesus, and all who believed in them. This look to the future is definitely more positive and hopeful compared with the terror that accompanied the time at Mt. Sinai.
After sharing these 2 visions, the Hebrew author reminds us that the same God lies at the heart of both these scenarios. We are encouraged to pay attention and accept the gifts God gives us. God has given us the gift of an unshakable kin-dom worthy of our respect and worship. This is reason for thanksgiving. When we are given a birthday or a Christmas gift, we tend to show it off and pass it around for others to see and admire. Isn’t the gift of God’s kin-dom worthy of sharing and yes, even showing off?