Lectionary for March 22, 2015. Jeremiah 31:31-34, psalm 51:1-12, Hebrews 5:5-10, John 12:20-33
Hello! I've been away from the blog...but not away from reading the scriptures for each week. There's been some good stuff, and some good intentions on my part to write about it! There's just been too much "life" happening (as well as a short holiday) so I couldn't sit down to write. None of this is an excuse, it just is the way it is right now.
I'm intrigued by Jeremiah. The old covenant, the one written on stones and given to Moses, has been broken over and over by God's people. Instead of coming down hard on them, God rewrites the contract, changes the media. Instead of writing it on stone and having God's words kept in the Ark and accessed by priests, God make a copy available to each person by writing it on them. (Wow, funky Tattoo art in the Old Testament!)
I think the reasoning behind this change is a bit like choosing a drinking glass for a child. You only let a child break the real glass once or twice before deciding they need the unbreakable plastic kind! This is God's version of the plastic cup for Her children!
The new covenant is written on hearts. In that time, the heart was understood to be the core of your whole being, body, mind, and spirit. (Not primarily a symbol of emotion). This is a double-edged gift. In one way, it is freeing. Each person is obviously capable of making right choices based on the covenant that is part of them. They no longer have to have access to a priest to be a part of the covenant. This isn't saying that the priests lose all importance. My understanding is just that the people are now given personal responsibility as well. They can not only rely on the officials.
The other edge of this is rather sobering. If the new covenant is written on hearts, it cannot be broken unless we tear out a part of ourselves-and it's not like losing an appendix! How would you ever remove something tattooed onto your heart?
This leads to a consideration of what wholeness is. Wholeness is being in accord with the covenant written on our hearts, being congruent with the Creator's purpose, taking responsibility for our relationship with God. The alternative, ripping ourselves apart, is unthinkable.
God's covenant frees us, and pushes us, to take personal responsibility. We can throw it around as much as we like, God has made it unbreakable.