St Hilda's Anglican Catholic Church Service Times

You are invited to join us for Anglican Catholic Holy Communion / Mass on:
Every Sunday, Maitland NSW Australia. Venue: St Marys School Chapel in Victoria St. Mass at 11am.
Fr Matthew Kirby for further details.
Check here for any additions or cancelations of services.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Passion Sunday - Sermon Summary 2014

Christ being come an High Priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands; that is to say, not of this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves; but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh; how much more shall the blood of Christ, who, through the eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the Mediator of the New Testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. Hebrews. 9:11
"How much more shall the blood of Christ ... purify your conscience"

What is so significant about blood? 
Why is it a central sacrifice? 
What does it have to do with sin and cleansing? 
Why was it not ever to be consumed by men in the Old Testament? 
What is so different about Christ's blood?

Blood carries nutrients, fuel, oxygen, warmth throughout the body. The Bible not exaggerating when it says that "the life of the flesh is in the blood" Leviticus 17:11. You are what you eat because what you eat is brought to your body via the blood. Your breath sustains you only because the oxygen is carried in the blood's red cells to all your other cells.

Which is why the work of Red Cross in this area is incredibly important, fundamental. Even with today's technology, there is no really satisfactory artificial substitute for blood donated by us. My (Fr Matthew) attempt to give blood: I'm a stone! I only managed to donate half a bag in half an hour. They gave up trying, looking worried. But I felt no ill effects, as I assured them. Nevertheless, if we can, it is a truly good work to give blood. If you'd like to know more about how to donate blood, follow this link to the Red Cross Web Site.

So, blood, especially with its perpetual flow, maintains our lives, our activity, and represents that life. Similarly, when shed, when lost, it leads to and represents death.

If sacrifice is about offering something precious to God, in order to worship his majestic holiness, and to acknowledge that everything we have and are depends on Him, then there can be no more precious symbol than blood. And while the cleansing of our souls from sin is often represented in the Bible by the washing of water (as in Baptism), it is also often ascribed to cleansing by blood (as in today's Epistle). Not just any blood, but blood sacrificed. 

Firstly, blood is mostly water anyway, though it is also so much more. Secondly, our internal cleansing requires more than our external cleansing, and so this internal, living fluid (yes it has living cells, remember) is a more potent symbol. Thirdly, sin involves spiritual death and deserves death, so blood that is shed signifies the payment of that debt.

But the blood of Christ shed for us on the Cross is more than a symbol. In fact, the sacrifices of animals' blood under the Old Covenant were always intended to be a foreshadowing of the Cross, symbols of the true reality. What is so different about His blood? It is divinised by belonging to Him. It is, as one early Church Father put it, the blood of God. Thus it has given to it the power to effect what it signifies. Not only that, but it is the result of an offering of infinitely greater positive value than, not only animal blood, but the negative value of our sin.

It is this that makes the next fact all the more astonishing. While under the Old Covenant God's people were forbidden to consume blood, in the New Covenant we are commanded to drink Christ's blood! This partaking is even described as being the New Covenant: "This is the New Covenant in my blood". What a turn around! Before, the blood was denied us, as if to say, "the blood is reserved to me as a sacrifice, to remind you that I am the source of life, and even the animals are fundamentally mine as Creator, not yours". But now God effectively says "All that is mine is yours, even my Son, even His lifeblood".

I would like to finish with a beautiful prophecy to the Church about the blood of Christ from the Old Testament. "As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water. Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare that I will render double unto thee;" Zechariah 9:11-12. God is our stronghold, and though we may sometimes feel imprisoned in this mortality, dry and diminished, we are prisoners of hope. Freedom and overwhelming restoration are our future, and a glorious foretaste of the same is our present, as we approach the Altar, partake of the Body and Blood, and go out in the strength of that purity and presence.

Join us for Anglican Catholic Church Mass / Holy Communion at St Hilda's Parish Maitland NSW Australia. Held at the school chapel of All Saints College in Victoria Street. 11am Sundays

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