Food for thought
I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you. (Jeremiah 31:3)
Grace and Peace, from God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Jeremiah, one of the BIG prophets of the Old Testament, has a special and - at least here - beautiful message for the people of God. Unfortunately that was not always the case. For the people of Israel had once more strayed from God. They became lost in idol worship, and weren’t paying attention to God's will any longer. So, God sent prophets to bring the people to repent.
One of them was Jeremiah. His job was to tell the people how disappointed and angry God was with them because of their idolatry and negligence. And the prophet often had to pronounce God’s wrath and heavy-handed judgment and punishment for the people. He was tortured for his grim messages, and at one point even sentenced to death.
Yet, now there is hope.
In chapters 30-33 of the book of Jeremiah, the prophet speaks of a great promise that God makes to God’s suffering people: After years and years in Babylonian exile they may return home. Finally! Only a remnant of survivors is left. Israel’s ruling class is destroyed. People are despairing. Yet, Jeremiah sees a light at the end of the tunnel: God wants to make a new covenant with what’s left of the people of Israel.
Now, what does this ancient stuff have to do with us in the 21st century? Well, we are the beneficiaries of this new covenant. God has made good on the promise to be faithful to God’s people, and to love us. And we live in the reality of this covenant. The promise has been fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
But did God have to do that at all?
No, God did not have to do it, for God is God and doesn’t have to do anything. God is God without us, and God is God with us… with or without us God is no more or less than God. God doesn’t need humanity to be God.
And yes, because God has promised to make a new covenant.
God has been faithful from the beginning, and over time God made covenants with Noah, Moses, Abraham, David, and through the prophets – confirming that “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.” Otherwise people would have been lost.
And out of love for humanity God has made a new covenant.
And that is what’s so awesome.
Because God loves the whole world, and all creation with an everlasting love, God has chosen us to be God’s people. That’s what the new covenant is about. That’s what Jesus is about. “‘Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (Jn 3:17)
And that is exactly what we celebrate every time we share in the Lord’s Supper… The new covenant in Christ’s blood – shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sin… The new covenant that God made – not just with Israel but with all people.
And what remains there but praise and thanksgiving and joy… A praise and joy that goes deep, and that fills us with profound gratitude. How can we keep from singing in thankfulness? Through the life and death of Christ God shows us this passionate love in person, and draws us near.
And out of thankfulness and praise we worship together and share in actions. We bear each other’s burdens through practical help and in prayer, for we are not alone, but joined together in the one Body of Christ. And because of God’s steadfast faithfulness, and great love for us we are called to do the beautiful and important task of proclaiming and sharing this love with those who need to hear that there is a God who loves them. And this is the Good News that we bear into the world around us, that we have a God who loves us “with an everlasting love”.
God's Peace and love to you all,