I can’t remember the last time I ever heard a preacher suggest that we should have “pride” in being Christians or read a commentator who suggested that “pride” is a trait acceptable for Christians to posses. Yet here the author of Hebrews exhorts us to lay claim to our heritage.
At this moment I am watching Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s African American Lives 2. An odd coincidence indeed. The show has Gates working with geneticists using the DNA records of a handful of famous African Americans to trace back to their African roots. They also discover that all of them had European ancestry as well and those whose families had always claimed Native American ancestry (Gates says every African American he knows makes such a claim) found that they had none to less than 5% Native American ancestry. Underlying all of this exercise is to regain the pride of their heritage, to lay claim to their own identity rather than accepting an identity crafted for them by the history of slavery.
Hebrews calls us to do the same, to trace out our spiritual ancestry and accept our place as heirs with Christ. Unlike our genetic heritage, however, Hebrews reminds us that accepting our place requires us to be diligent and to hold firm to our faith.
14 For we have become partners of Christ, if only we hold our first confidence firm to the end. 15 As it is said,
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”