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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Today’s Scripture Reading | Jeremiah 31:31–34

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. (NRSV)

Each year I look forward to reading the words of the prophets in the Advent season as we watch, wait, and prepare for the coming of the Promised One, the Prince of Peace. This year, though, my yearning for the hope expressed in these prophetic phrases is even deeper than it has been in the past.
The frequent cloudy days, the early onset of evening shadows, is sufficient unto itself. Yet the shadows seem even starker midst our societal surroundings of very shadowy (yes, reprehensible) human behavior on the part of leaders and popular figures. Where am I to find light and hope?
The words of Jeremiah addressed our Hebrew ancestors in exile, longing for a return home and a new beginning. We read phrases of distinct intimacy. Even though God has taken the people by the hand in years past, they have managed to break away from their holy parent, running off on their own.
Now Jeremiah proclaims a new covenant, a new relationship of the wandering children with their loving parent. If it was up to our forebears and to us, we would remain lost. Yet God promises to intervene, writing the divine will not on tablets of stone but on our hearts.
As I look both toward Christmas and the in-breaking of God’s realm, my shadowy outlook is pierced by the bright light of God’s love, which enters our world no matter how gloomy it may seem. Thank you, Jeremiah, and thanks be to our persistently loving God!

God of hope and promise, I thank you for this Advent season and for your seeking love, which you assure us will be written on our hearts. Shine in our shadows once again through the coming of the Lord of love, justice, and peace. Amen.

Written by Jeffrey Doane, Parish Associate for Older Adults

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