Fifth Sunday in Lent – Sunday, March 18, 2018

March 18, 2018  

Jeremiah 31:31-34

We know God.

From the least of us to the greatest of us, a measure which varies according to who does the measuring and why, we know God.

We know the God who forgives us.

We know the God who remembers our sin no more.

We know the God who is able to forgive and to forget.

We know God.

Looking ahead on our church calendar, we anticipate next Sunday the drama of the Passion, the story of those last days leading up to the moment of the death of Jesus.

Looking ahead on our church calendar, we anticipate (a week from Thursday) the intimacy of the last supper Jesus had with his disciples, and the despair of his lonely vigil in the garden.

Looking ahead on our church calendar, we will (a week from Friday) remember the path Jesus walked to his death, carrying the cross he was to be hung on.

Looking ahead on our church calendar we anticipate, two weeks from today, our celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. Every Sunday is a “little Easter” but on Easter Sunday our Alleluias return as we join the angels, singing glory to God in the highest.

Anticipating each event, we remember this morning God’s words spoken to Jeremiah:

I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

As followers of Jesus, a new law has been written upon our hearts, the law of sacrifice and thanksgiving: the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and our thankfulness as we receive the promise of eternal life.

God said to Jeremiah:

They shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest… [and] I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

We do know God. Each of us, from the least of us to the greatest. We know God. And we know we have been forgiven. And we know our sins are forgotten by God. We know all of this because we have lived all of this, day after day, year after year. This year the Church remembers, as the Church does every year, our need for forgiveness as we walk through the season of Lent, moving toward the day we celebrate that Christ is Risen. He is risen indeed.

Every year we remember the horror of Jesus’ suffering, suffering we know was necessary in order for us to receive God’s gifts of forgiveness and eternal life.

What does all of this “knowing” mean?

All of this “knowing” means everything!

To know we can trust in God’s forgiveness frees us from our bondage to sin! Knowing God’s forgiveness turns us toward God rather than away; knowing God forgives us turns us toward the God of love. Knowing God’s love for us infuses us with love for self, infuses us with love for others, infuses us with love for the world.

At least that’s the way it is supposed to work. 😊

A life of faith is rarely so easy as to just know and then to believe.

People spend lifetimes struggling to know and to believe, leaving precious little time to celebrate God’s love and then to live that love.

Good thing God has written God’s grace-full love upon our hearts. “You are forgiven, Joanne,” God has written upon my heart. “You are forgiven, ____________, God has written upon your heart.” “You are forgiven, ___________, ____________, ______________.”

We are forgiven. We are forgiven because God loves us that much, and so much more.

Thanks be to God.

Amen.