Jeremiah brings us the promise of ‘a new thing’, a fresh, new beginning – a new Covenant! I think of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s ‘New Deal’ . Most of Christianity believes that the New Covenant finally came into force with the ministry of Christ, as he taught : “this cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood”. This promise of a ‘new thing’ has to do with the sacred nature of the relationship that exists between God and all Creation – and the living out of that witness with the world!
3 Points: (1) It brings the greatest possible ‘hope’, (2) it is different from what has gone before, and (3) it empowers from within.
(1) Hope. NEW COVENANT people live as a people who’ve glimpsed the promise of the new thing! Proverbs tells us that ‘people perish for lack of vision’ but it could equally read ‘for lack of hope!’ And in Hebrews we’re told that to have faith means: being sure of what we hope for, and certain of that which we cannot (yet) see!
(2) Different! There was nothing wrong with the ‘OLD’ COVENANT which had all sorts of beautiful and clear instructions on all sorts of moral, ceremonial and judicial issues… ‘Live within these boundaries and live well’ we can imagine God saying! ‘Do these things and you will be living in harmony with me and what I intend for you!’ The only problem is that it wasn’t possible! Our human weaknesses constantly stop us from living into those realities! I think of Paul – who had been a highly educated Israelite Jew of the order of Pharisees – a student of the highly respected Rabbi Gamaliel, Doctor of Jewish Law – Paul, who cried out at his own constant failure! But look again at how he ends that passage with New Covenant gratitude in the hope of: ‘Thanks be to God who does this for me through Jesus Christ’
(3) From within. This not something for which we have to stretch so much as the discovery of something sacred ‘right here’ ‘within us – written on our hearts’
The focus of the NEW COVENANT is NEVER on just ourselves, it is on God. But through others – others are always among the most vulnerable/ disconnected/ hurting.
Jackie Pullinger reflects how the problem is that while taking God’s NEW COVENANT message of hope to wherever it’s most needed requires us to have soft hearts and hard feet –what most of us have are hard hearts and soft feet. And so, what about you?
Two questions for reflection:
Where are you most longing to embrace ‘NEW COVENANT HOPE’ in your life – currently?
Where are you being most charged/commissioned to take Christ’s NEW COVENANT HOPE out to others?
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