Summary: Deals with the place of honor that we give to Jesus.
Near the center of one of our great Midwestern cities there is a restaurant that has consistently rated with the critics.
It’s really just a hole-in-the-wall but the chicken is "O, so good..."
The restaurant is called: Holy Ghost Fire Baptized Chicken-which of course is a rather peculiar name for a restaurant-even in this predominantly ethnic neighborhood.
"Holy Ghost Fire Baptized Chicken?" one newspaper critic asked the owner after an especially tasty piece of fried white meat. "So where did you come up with that name?"
"Well," explained the owner, "we started out as a small struggling church, The Holy Ghost Fire Baptized Apostolic Assembly. And we decided to have a weekly chicken sale so we could pay our preacher. And everyone loved our chicken so much that we started frying every night. Then we didn’t really have time for the church anymore. So, we closed that and figured our ministry was to bring good eatin’ to the neighborhood."
That’s how Holy Ghost Fire Baptized Chicken started. True story.
Now, was it bad that a church sold chicken? I don’t think so. As a matter of fact I admire their creativity and especially their desire pay their minister.
But what’s troubling is how easily they lost their focus-especially in the midst of their success.
And that’s where the book of Hebrews begins to speak to our common situation. For it’s not just a few inner city chicken-frying Christians that are susceptible to loss of focus.
Over the next several months we’re going to be looking at the book of Hebrews-in much the same way as we looked at the book of Acts. We’ll work through several chapters, take some time off, come back to it. Live with it--listen to it-let it seep in and mold our lives.
You see, Hebrews has a powerful message for Christians today. We have an awful lot in common with those first readers--perhaps more so than any generation in the last 1700 years.
Hebrews, as the name implies, is a very Jewish book. It is steeped in Jewish imagery. We don’t really know who wrote it-although the leading line in KJV Bibles says that it was the Apostle Paul. That, however, was a later addition-perhaps second or third century. So we don’t really know who wrote it or exactly when.
Although, the way that the writer talks about the Jewish Temple suggests to me that it was written prior to the demise of the Temple in AD 70.
And there are some pretty interesting twists and spins on traditional Jewish thought. I suspect that it was written to counter the incursion of a cult or sect that had combined Jewish thinking with some kinds of Greek thinking.
These were people who were really into angels-which is another parallel to our current situation where angels are a big deal for many people.
We live in an era people are designing their own versions of spirituality. I’ve used the analogy of the smorgasbord before. People are walking along with their plates and saying, "I’ll take a little of this and a little of that. I like angels so I’ll make them the entree."
We’ve got this kind of designer spirituality mentality-angels, spirits - whatever.