Lent Reflection: 3/23/2013

3/23/2013 Caroline Anna Roberts (C’xx)
Jeremiah 31:27-34
Romans 11:25-36
John 11:28-44 or 12:37-50

The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of humans and the seed of animals. And just as I have watched over them to pluck up and break down, to overthrow, destroy, and bring evil, so I will watch over them to build and to plant, says the Lord. In those days they shall no longer say:
‘The parents have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.’ 
But all shall die for their own sins; the teeth of everyone who eats sour grapes shall be set on edge.
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. –Jeremiah 31:27-34

Easter shifts us from the old to the new. In the Easter story Jesus takes his new place as God’s resurrected son. We find ourselves in a new relationship with God, a new life where our sins are washed away. In this particular passage, we encounter another new addition that comes at Easter. In God’s old law, the sins of a father could pass on his son. A descendant to the third or fourth generation could be held responsible for familial actions in the past. This is disheartening until we realize that it is actually irrelevant: as we are all sinful, it does not matter if we carry on our relations’ misdeeds. Inevitably we have fallen prey to sin along with our ancestors. God creates a new law at Easter time, and part of it is the rewritten old law which now states that we each deserve to die for our own independent sins. But this is only part of His new change.

God claims us as well. He gives us His Son so that we will not die. He gives us this new law, which says that we have sinned but that we are saved, and places it inside us and etches it onto our hearts. This visceral description exhibits the newness and rawness of Easter. Our sin has uprooted us, but God’s grace plants us and builds us back up. This passage does leave us with a question, however. God assures us that after His new covenant with us, we need not tell our neighbors about Him, for they will already know Him. Yet today, not everyone has heard God’s word. We have God’s word written on our hearts, but why hasn’t everyone seen it? Perhaps this is because we sometimes keep our hearts hidden. I know I often do. God gave us the ability to show His face to others effortlessly, just by being ourselves. And yet sometimes we censor this. When the Easter season arrives, I will challenge myself to allow God’s gift to do its work. I hope to let my heart speak for itself and share God’s news.