Consider how he endured such opposition from sinners, in order that you may not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.
The Letter to the Hebrews was apparently written by a church elder with a deep grasp of the Jewish heritage, an intense devotion to Jesus, and grave concern for the Church of his time. Although Christians had suffered persecution and proven their faith by cheerful perseverance, when the crisis passed they lost their fervor.
The Church realized this many centuries ago. We have boasted, “The blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church.” The more they abused us the stronger we grew.But we have a hard time with security and prosperity. Unchallenged from without, we do not challenge ourselves from within. We can’t seem to explain to ourselves or others why we should fast, pay tithes and donate time and energy to the Church. Typically, about three percent of any parish get involved although they flood the church during a crisis. That statistic has remained constant even as Sunday attendance dwindles.
Many former Christians think they can claim the title since they pay taxes, hold jobs and avoid trouble. They say they “believe” in Jesus (or God) though their faith makes no discernible difference in their life style. They attend no church and feel no desire to.The day seems to be coming when the name of Christian will lose its appeal. It was used a sneer in the first place, and appears only three times in the New Testament. When that day comes practicing Christians will also disavow the word; some because they fear retribution; others because of its obvious hypocrisy. Catholics too might disown the word Catholic.
The Church, of course, will still gather to worship God. The Holy Spirit will see to that. Perhaps, on that day, we’ll have a better sense of who we are, what we need, and why we assemble in his name.