“…By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the sanctuary is not yet opened as long as the outer tent/tabernacle is still standing (which is symbolic for the present age). According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot perfect the worshiper in regard to conscience, but deal only with food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation/setting right (μέχρι καιροῦ διορθώσεως). But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.” (Hebr 9: 8-12)

This passage is a lot to process, I know. But it’s appropriate to this season, as the author of Hebrews takes us back to the time and symbolism of the Old-Testament temple, and then the “reformation” or “setting right” (διόρθωσις) accomplished by the Advent and other salvific works of Christ.

One of the aspects of human existence “set right” (“ortho-cized,” if you will) by our Lord’s coming to us, as One of us, in the flesh, was worship. Previously, (before the tearing in two, at the Lord's death on the Cross, of the temple’s curtain, which separated the “dwelling-place of God,” the Holy of Holies, from the “dwelling-place/s of men”), the human being was severed from communion with God. We could not “enter” into God’s “tent” or His perfection, His grace, – until God entered our “tent” (ἐσκήνωσεν ἐν ἡμῖν, Jn 1: 14), in the Incarnation of His only-begotten Son. It is by Him, or by communion with Him, which He continuously offers us at the Self-offering of the Church’s Eucharist, that the “curtain” between heaven and earth is torn asunder for us, again and again. We do still “deal” with “food and drink” and other realities of the “present age,” including sin! But by and in the Body of Christ, we do have The Door, “once for all” open (back) into the Holy Place, whenever we choose to respond to His call: “Repent! (Metanoeite, change your mind/focus!) For the kingdom of heaven is near!” This morning I re-focus on You, Lord, and continue our common journey toward Bethlehem.

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