Written On Our Hearts

Written On Our Hearts

A New Covenant
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 31:31-34 (NRSVUE)

In our scripture reading today, we heard a lot about covenants, and we have talked about covenants several times over the last few weeks. If you remember, a covenant is like a promise. Just recently, we heard about the covenant that God made with Noah to never again flood the earth and the covenant that God made with Abraham, promising that Abraham would be the father of many nations.

Well, in today’s scripture reading, the prophet Jeremiah is talking to the Jews in Israel. Now, first Jeremiah reminds them of how God had made a covenant with their ancestors, promising to lead them safely out of bondage in Egypt. Remember with the parting of the Red Sea and then feeding them with manna in the wilderness? But then Jeremiah tells them that now God is promising them a new covenant. God is promising to wipe their slate clean and give them a fresh new start so that they can truly live as God’s people.

Now, of course, covenants are important, especially covenants with God! But this week, as I was reflecting on the scripture, the covenant part of the scripture wasn’t the part that was resonating with me. The part that I kept hearing over and over in my head, and the part that I was curious to learn more about is what exactly was it that God was writing on their hearts?

Now, it could have been a straightforward, black-and-white list of laws, rules, and judgments, but folks, to be honest, I know that God is far more creative than that! Scripture says that from what was written on their heart, they wouldn’t need to learn more about God, because they would all know God. So, I started to think about the fact that we are all created in God’s image, and we were all created to be unique individuals. just like the Israelites were. God didn’t use a cookie cutter to make us look the same, and our hearts weren’t rubber-stamped with the same message. I believe that God writes on each one of our hearts, assuring us of the unique and individual gifts that we have been given to share with the world.

It made me think of the story of Mumble. Does anyone know who Mumble is? Mumble is a penguin from the movie Happy Feet. If you haven’t seen the movie, Mumble is a baby emperor penguin who lives in the Antarctic. As the story goes, when an emperor penguin is born, it is born with a song in its heart. And it’s the penguin’s job to listen to their hearts for their own song so that they can find out who they truly are. All of the penguins in the Happy Feet movie have beautiful singing voices, except for Mumble. Mumble can’t sing. And every time he opens his beak and tries, he makes these terrible squeaking and squawking sounds. Everyone makes fun of him, and he is not accepted by the other penguins. But what Mumble finally discovers is that, though he can’t sing, he can dance, and it’s his unique tap dancing that makes him who he truly is.

So I wonder, what is it that makes you, YOU? And what words might God have written on your heart? Friends, I believe that when we listen closely to the song within us or to the words that God has written on our hearts, we not only begin to understand ourselves a little better, but we also get to know God who lovingly created us, just the way we are! We find that life and faith are not about black-and-white rules, laws, and judgments. On the contrary, living lives of faith is about colorful, sparkling possibilities and uniquely descriptive adjectives!

The words that God writes on our hearts are what make us who we are. And when we discover those words and listen closely to our heart songs, we truly begin to live our lives as God us to and we sparkle and shine reflecting the love of God and bringing light and hope not only to ourselves, but the world around us!

Friends, can you imagine truly knowing and understanding yourself and, in so doing, truly knowing and understanding God? As today’s scripture reading said, “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.”

So, brothers and sisters in Christ, as you go out into your busy week ahead, remember that life is not about the mistakes and bad choices we’ve made. God wipes those away and always gives us a fresh new start. Life is about listening to our hearts and learning to be who God created us to be so that we might sparkle and shine, not calling attention to ourselves but sharing God’s love and light with the world!

My friends, may it be so. Thanks be to God, Amen.


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