"We Have an Altar" (Hebrews 13:10): The Reclamation of Reinterpreted Liturgy for Ecological Responsibility

The letter-sermon of Hebrews has reinterpreted many symbols of the old covenant in light of the new covenant introduced through and by the Son. Many of these symbols have liturgical significance: Sabbath, sacrifice, priesthood, sanctuary, to name the most prominent. In each case, the symbol has been relativized through christological reinterpretation. In the process of reinterpretation, implicit connections between many of the cultic rituals and God's creation are lost, eroding the potential for concern for creation performed in liturgical practice. This erosion in significance has also manifest in certain ecclesiastical traditions that are suspicious of and sometimes antagonistic to liturgical practice. This paper will illustrate how the author of Hebrews has demonstrated a bias against Earth both through the choice of liturgical symbols for reinterpretation and through the reinterpretation itself. A point of identification with Earth will be identified in the author's depiction of the Son entering the heavenly sanctuary to offer his own blood. This point of identification will further provide a significant basis for the voice of Earth in reasserting the importance of liturgical practice for ecological responsibility. Two areas of practice, one explicit in Hebrews, baptism, and the other implied in the offering of the Son's blood in the heavenly sanctuary, the Eucharist, will be developed in terms of how they might foster a sense of responsibility toward Earth's well being.