In the Middle

By Elizabeth Baumann

A Reading from Hebrews 1:1-12 

1 Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. 3He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

5 For to which of the angels did God ever say,
“You are my Son;
today I have begotten you”?
Or again,
“I will be his Father,
and he will be my Son”?
6And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,
“Let all God’s angels worship him.”
7Of the angels he says,
“He makes his angels winds,
and his servants flames of fire.”
8But of the Son he says,
“Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever,
and the righteous scepter is the scepter of your kingdom.
9 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”
“In the beginning, Lord, you founded the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands;
11 they will perish, but you remain;
they will all wear out like clothing;
12 like a cloak you will roll them up,
and like clothing they will be changed.
But you are the same,
and your years will never end.”


There’s a fun retelling of Pride and Prejudice on YouTube which purports to be modern Elizabeth Bennett’s video diary.  She introduces herself as “the dreaded middle child, doomed to a life of” problems. Many of us will also remember Jan Brady. The person in the middle always seems to get overlooked, or to bear the weight. Full disclosure: I am not a middle child, but I am a wife and a mother, and I often also feel caught in the middle — between my priest husband and my needy small children.

In this opening passage from Hebrews, Jesus is also “in the middle.” The Second Person of the Trinity is begotten of the Father, who creates the world through him and sends him to save it. In turn, he sends the Holy Spirit. It’s by being in the middle, facilitating the will of the Father and sending out the Spirit into the world, that Jesus comes into his own and inherits “all things.” Submission to his role becomes glory.

And so it is for all of us who find ourselves in the middle. We can feel trapped, overlooked, underappreciated. Sometimes society beckons us to throw off the things — or people — on either side to become “free.” But we only become our true selves by holding the center. The way of Jesus, the way of holiness is a way through — not a way out of — the middle.

Elizabeth Baumann is a seminary graduate, a priest’s wife, and the mother of two small daughters. A transplant from the West Coast, she now lives in “the middle of nowhere” in the Midwest with too many cats.

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Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer

Today we pray for:

The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia
The Episcopal Church in Connecticut


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