The Days are Surely Coming

“The days are surely coming…No 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.” (Jeremiah 31: 27..34)

The Old Testament scripture from today’s Lectionary’s text paints a vision for which we all look. It is the vision of that time when the covenant “written on the people’s hearts” will finally be fulfilled. As Christians, it is hard for us to not read this Scripture through our own lens. But remember the setting in which this was probably written: It is the time following the exile. The cities have been breached; the temple has been totally destroyed; there is nothing left of the lives that were before. The people who first heard this had become subjects of the Persian king and life as they knew it has been ripped away at its very foundations. But through the prophet Jeremiah, God unveils a vision of reconstruction and renewal. But this time, things will be different…

This time things will be different…How many times have you heard that in your own life? THIS time I won’t eat so much; THIS time I won’t get so upset; THIS time I won’t let myself get into this mess; THIS time I’ll do it right. This time things will be different…But THIS time God is not giving us a set of rules. God is not telling us what to do or when to do it. God instead promises a renewed covenant, a transformation from what was to what will be. And this time things WILL be different…

By writing it in our hearts, God has written Godself into us, renewing that image of the Godself buried deep within our beings. God is making who God is part of our very essence. It is permanent. God has written the capacity for immense love and unending faithfulness into us. And someday…someday…we’ll realize what that means. And this time things WILL be different…

We have spent the last few weeks wandering in our own wildernesses. And today, the road changes. The wilderness seems to be not so evident, as if a sort of organized earthly sprawl is creeping into it. There are more houses than we remember seeing before, more signs of people going about their lives, better pavement on the roads. We must be nearing the city. Jerusalem is just over the horizon. We are not yet there, but we sense that change is in the air. There is a sort of excitement. People are beginning to gather. And somewhere over the hill, there’s a faint cadence of drums and some sort of hammering in the distance. It is hard to understand what it all means. But we, with the Godself written into our being and the promise of a new life deep within our hearts, will walk on…toward Jerusalem. And God walks with us…

So go forth toward the city. There is no way around!

Grace and Peace,

Shelli

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