Normal>I speak to you in the name of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit – Amen
The days are surely coming …
The days are surely coming…
Twice in the Old Testament reading today we heard that statement from the prophet Jeremiah, “The days are surely coming”
If you were be walking along the streets of your neighborhood this time of the year,
With the grass, trying to return to green again,
The early spring bulbs starting to poke through the cold garden beds
And maybe some of the trees are showing the first signs of buds on the dormant branches,
And you were to meet up with a friend of yours and say “the days are surely coming”,
I would think that the first thing that your friend would think about was all the beautiful weather we have enjoyed this week
And the real hope that winter won’t return – that Spring has arrived
And with that the opportunity to be outside more often.
Maybe, if they’re not a spring person, but a summer person, they would be thinking of that spring in the gateway to summer,
The first taste of the warm weather, the start of the BBQ season.
If you were to say that same phrase to many of the people across the street or around any university or college campus this time of year, You might get one of two responses,
Either a look of heaviness as a result of all the end of year work,
From either the teachers or the students,
Or you might have someone looking past the busy time to the upcoming break and what they might be able to do with their free-time,
Something missing over the long school year.
I know myself; this is near the end of the kids, hockey and Ringette seasons
And my wife and I and maybe the kids are looking forward to the end of weekends spent in an arena
Looking forward both with excitement and nervousness on behalf of the kids
Hoping that they will do well in their play-offs
Consider the phrase “the days are surely coming” in the setting of a church,
And the first thoughts might be to the excitement of Palm Sunday
The anticipation of that troubling remembrance of Good Friday
And the glorious victory of Easter Sunday…
Over ‘the history of the church’ it has been viewed with different lenses.
You see Jeremiah speaks of the Days surely coming where there will be a ‘new covenant’,
And Christians when Christians look at the Old Testament they look through lenses that see all of God’s work pointing towards Jesus.
It has been seen through-out the ages since, that this prophecy is a prophecy for the Messiah.
In the New Testament, the writer of Hebrews in chapter 8 includes this very section of scripture and presented it as prophecy for Jesus.
And all through-out Christian History this prophecy of the new covenant has been seen as the foretelling of the manifestation of Jesus Christ.
In Christ there is something truly new, Never before has God come as a man
The new covenant is seen in the light of an entirely new creation – Christ –
Presented is not merely a different spin on the same ‘law bound’ relationship between God and man …But God coming as man
And God sacrificing Himself for His creation to create a new covenant.
It is new because God revealed the covenant in an entirely new manner.
It is also true that Christ did not come only for 1st century people,
But established a covenant with all Christians’ through-out history,
That we are each to relate with God in a new transformed way,
Transformed personally and individually
Jeremiah describes the old covenant as written in stone,
Which was sealed with the sacrifices of animals for the atonement of their sins?
I have this image,
Maybe put there by the Michelangelo’s painting,
Of the finger of God, etching the stone tablets with the commandments on them,
The tablets in which Moses brought down from Mount Sinai.
On those tablets, the first and greatest law of them all,
Restated best in Deuteronomy 6 and repeated in the gospels
“4Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. 5You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.” (Deut 6:4-5)
Then change that image to God finger writing a new covenant… on our hearts
– my heart
– your heart
– God's law written on my blood cells, on every neuron.
I have this image that – if we were to have a microscope powerful enough to see a an atom completely,
It would say in fine print
“Made by God – return to sender” (pause)
As I look at the notion ‘the days are surely coming’ I consider the words of Christ on the cross suffering for us…For our sins, Sins which we daily continue to transgress
Christ’s words… “it is finished” (John 19:30b)
And I think of the work of the new covenant being written on our hearts,
That we are branded for God.
As we await “the days surely coming” (conclusion - read slowly)
Of spring Of summer Of new opportunities Of triumph - that is Easter
Of a new era - where God’s writing on our hearts will be visible by our witness to the world.
Consider how you can respond – now – today…To be God’s visible presence in this age
To show the world, Your neighborhood, Your workplace, To your family and friends
To be witnesses of God’s forgiveness,
Knowing that God will remember no more all that is ugly in you.
Respond to the new covenant promised - in the days surely coming
Respond to Christ’s words – ‘It is finished’ - Thanks be to God - Amen!