Skip to main content

Jeremiah 31:31-34
31 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. 32 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. 33 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. 34 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.

 

I don’t know if you are good at waiting for things, if you are patient, or the kind of things you are patient about and the kind of things you aren’t.
Some things are simply matters of urgency, getting a biopsy of a lump or an MRI for something, and it’s good that they are now running MRIs 24/7.
Other things are easier. It’s not that hard for me anymore to wait for my birthday. Once it was hard, but it was excitement not need or urgency.

And yet other things are urgent. We live in a townhouse complex and when I have taken down my recycling I have had moments of despair over what people throw in the garbage, and about some people’s seeming inability to sort their recycling. Part of that is exasperation, some of it is disappointment. And I think that if people can’t even sort their recycling, how will we safe this planet from environmental catastrophe.
Or I think about the bombs that were dropped on Syria in February or the resistance or slowness of the new American administration to rejoin the Iran Nuclear Agreement, or how slow we have been to see racism.

The reason I talk about waiting and patience is that both are related to hope. I wait only for the things I believe will happen. That’s the difference between wishing and hoping. The opposite of hope is resignation because one no longer expects anything.
Followers of Jesus are people of hope because our hope is in God. That our hope is in God helps us deal with disappointments and setbacks we suffer in the meantime. Because we expect the world to be redeemed by God we can overcome disappointment and participate in God’s work of salvation.

Most of us are well familiar with the reading from Jeremiah, it is part of the readings for Reformation Day. It speaks of a new covenant that we believe God has made in Jesus. And we believe that in our baptism God has gifted us with the Holy Spirit.
And yet, one commentator remarked this week that she grew impatient with the fulfilment of this beautiful promise.
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. 34 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 …
And if I am honest, I may be impatient, too.

I was listening to a Lenten meditation on Tuesday where Kate Bowler speaks about darkness, and how we can’t see in the dark. And she references Barbara Brown Taylor’s book, “Learning to walk in the dark.” Brown Taylor speaks about being out in the world and the sun shining so brightly – sort of like the last few days – that it’s hard for her to remember that there are stars out there that are only visible after the sun sets. Think of the stars you can see when you leave the city. Some things we cannot see except in the dark. So when it’s bright out, we just have to trust that the stars are still there.
And there may be times in our lives when we can’t see God’s presence for whatever reason, and we simply have to trust that God is there and remember that God’s glory is revealed on the cross.

I also remembered a popular song by the 18th century poet Matthias Claudius who writes:
Look at the moon so lonely!
One half is shining only,
Yet she is round and bright;
Thus oft we laugh unknowing
At things that are not showing,
That still are hidden from our sight.

Knowing that not all things are visible to us but that God’s glory is revealed on the cross we find strength to continue to hope for the promises God has given:

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. 34 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 …

Amen.

Christoph Reiners

Pastor Christoph was ordained in Vancouver in 1994 and have served congregations in Winnipeg and Abbotsford before coming to Our Saviour in the fall of 2016.