Jeremiah 31: 31-35
1The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 32It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt — a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the LORD. 33But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, "Know the LORD," for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.
35Thus says the LORD,
who gives the sun for light by day
and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night,
who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar —
the LORD of hosts is his name:
A New Covenant
A new covenant? What about past promises and covenants that seemed to end up as failures? Instead of getting more complicated, God revealed an encompassing and inclusive new idea of unconditional love and forgiveness: “for I will forgive their iniquity and remember their sin no more,” (verse 34b). Simple but profound words that remind me of an old saying, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
I struggled through this reading and re-read it several times. I realized that we are offered a clean slate – the slate was clean and would stay that way. All who seek to be one with God are offered this redemptive and dynamic relationship. We are enough just the way we are. Our innate worth is sufficient. If we accept this offer of a new beginning, we are freed from self-doubts, worries and dread.
Maybe God is like a celestial Mr. Rogers, who famously told children he loved them just the way they were. What a wonderful message – no pretense, no rivalry, no fear of not measuring up. This Advent season we are free and welcome to accept this invitation and enter into the new covenant.
Lord, open my heart to your love and the freedom to live in this new covenant with you. Help me to be a candle in the darkness and a light to others.
Eileen Hosey – Shepherd of the Valley, Juneau