Be mindful of prisoners as if sharing their imprisonment, and of the ill-treated as of yourselves, for you also are in the body.
Let marriage be honored among all
and the marriage bed be kept undefiled,
for God will judge the immoral and adulterers. Let your life be free from love of money but be content with what you have,
I love that little aside in Hebrew 13:3 -- "for you are also in the body." Human beings often forget that we are "in the body." Prelates, planning their new, modern churches, have been known to forget toilets. Campers forget blankets; travelers forget food; generals planning bivouacs, forget latrines. General Eisenhower is remembered for his logistical genius; he said, "An army travels on its stomach."
If we remember these necessities for ourselves we may forget that others need them. We donate food to the poor but forget soap, diapers, and warm jackets. We provide television to prisoners and think that will satisfy their need for entertainment, education and community.
Speaking of prisoners, our Author reminds his people to share their imprisonment because we're all imprisoned by our habits, schedules and infrastructures. GPS tracking of millions of telephones has shown that most people go to the same places every day, every month, every year. How Boring!
The doctrine of the Incarnation celebrates that great mystery, that the Lord God willingly wrapped himself in all the infirmities, indignities and necessities of human life. We had seen God's humility in the Old Testament; in God's speaking to us with words, in human language, which can be so easily misunderstood and misinterpreted. People still complain about that. "Why doesn't God speak in our language, in modern 21st century American English? Why do we have to study ancient Hebrew words and Greek culture?"
With the birth of Jesus we are dumbfounded -- and further inconvenienced -- by his dependence upon Mary and Joseph and all the frail infrastructures that make human life possible. With every passing century the world of a first century rabbi becomes more remote. And yet we know nothing about God -- or salvation, or hope, or the purpose of human life -- if we forget that world altogether.
The Author of Hebrews finds grace in the quotidian, in the ordinary, flat, plain facts of life. You need not climb every mountain or ford every stream. There is adventure enough in honoring the marriage bed and being content with what you have. Heroism resides not in extremis but very close.
For this command which I am giving you today is not too wondrous or remote for you. It is not in the heavens, that you should say, “Who will go up to the heavens to get it for us and tell us of it, that we may do it?” Nor is it across the sea, that you should say, “Who will cross the sea to get it for us and tell us of it, that we may do it?” No, it is something very near to you, in your mouth* and in your heart, to do it. Deuteronomy 30: 11