July 13, 2003

Henry Hildebrand - “Why is sacrifice necessary?”

Please login to view the bulletins.


Henry Hildebrand encouraged us to think more deeply about sacrifice, and why it is so central to what we believe. With constant accompaniment from scripture from Genesis to Hebrews, Henry took us through the historical centrality of sacrifice in all religions, not just Judaism and Christianity, and introduced the elements of substitutionary sacrifice and differentiating it from offering. The parallels between followers of Moloch who were to sacrifice their first-born, and Abraham’s experience with his son Isaac indicate the common root of this ritual, and it is not until the transformation of Judaism to a monotheistic religion as late as perhaps the 7th or 8th c. BCE that the shedding of human blood in sacrifice is made purely symbolic. The elements of the ritual continue today, in our attitudes towards our military - the unification of a nation does not come out of the deaths of its enemy; rather it comes out of the deaths of its own soldiers in a substitutionary sacrifice, and here Henry emphasizes the parallels of sectarianism with nationalism. The world was turned upside down again over Christ - the old ways were not effective at restoring relationship to God, or they would not have had to be done again and again. Yet though the language is the same, the principle is different, so that though Heb 9:22 states that “without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” it is tempered with the knowledge that the blood of One shed for all is now enough for that restoration. Henry’s parting thought from John 3:16 is “what was the magnitude of the debt that demanded of God the sacrifice of his only Son?” [AP]


Passage: Gen 1; Hebr 9
Communion: No
Ecumenical or Event:
Potluck Lunch: No
Congregational Meeting: No


Speaker: Henry Hildebrand
Worship Leader: Nathan Schneidereit
Song Leader: Ann Marie Neudorf
Pianist: Edward Kehler
Zoom Coordinator:
Children's Feature Leader:


Bring Flowers:
Coffee Helper:
Sound Helper:


Child Care Volunteer:

Service Archives

News Archives

Subscribe to our Podcast

Add to iTunes or RSS