LENT 5B: Heart-Wrenching

Lectionary Passage:  Jeremiah 31: 31-34
The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It 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. But 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. 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.

The days are surely coming.  Hmmm!  When would that be that the new covenant will come to be?  We Christians like to put on our post-Resurrection lens and read this with the view of Jesus, the Cross, and the empty tomb in our mind.  Ah…we think, Jesus, Jesus is the new covenant.  Jesus is the covenant that is written on our hearts.  Jesus is the one. Is he?  Are the days surely here?

OK, be honest, have you looked around?  Have you listened to the news today?  (Actually I haven’t had time today, but I can guess!)  BUT, “the days are surely coming!”  Now don’t get me wrong.  I DO believe that Jesus is an embodiment of the New Covenant, the embodiment of God’s Promise, the embodiment of The Way.  And yet, the idea of this being “written on our hearts”, of this New Covenant becoming not just something to which we aspire, not just something by which we try to abide, but something that is actually part of us just downright eludes us.  This covenant is something that should be part of our body, our soul, our heart, our mind, our very being.  The promise is certain, but it doesn’t end there.

Think about it.  Read the words.  This is not about God just tossing some words out there in the hopes that someone will be curious enough or scared enough or ready enough to pick them up.  God is much more nuanced than that.  Rather, God’s vision is that they are written on our hearts, permanently tattooed, part of our very being.  It is as if God is remaking us from the inside out.  Maybe that’s our whole problem.  Maybe we’re making ourselves backwards.  Maybe we’re trying to do the right things and say the right things and fast and pray and live our lives with the hopes that our hearts will be made right.  And in the meantime, God is inside, with heart-wrenching fervor, remaking us from the inside out and waiting patiently for us to stop and notice.

So on this twenty-third day of Lenten observance, just sit.  Listen to your heart.  What is your heart telling you?  After all, the words are there.  And then go tell someone what your heart is telling you.

Grace and Peace on this Lenten Journey,


And in the department of true confessions, sorry about the posts (or non-posts!) for the week-end.  It got away from me, so you’ll get “bonus posts” on today or tomorrow!  Shelli

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