The prophet Jeremiah condemns Israel for its infidelity, but also reminds the people that God would not abandon them. God would offer a new covenant to his people; one that would be “written upon their hearts”. In the Bible, the heart is not the center of one’s affections, but rather the center of intellect. By being written on the heart, the covenant would fill the people with the knowledge of the ways of the Lord. Do you feel it- The Love of God deep in your heart- a love so strong that God performs the ultimate sacrifice for us??
Think about it, Jesus is both the priest who offers the victim and the victim being offered through which we obtain forgiveness of our sins. This is the ultimate expression of LOVE. In the gospel, the word GLORY is repeated quite a bit. In the usage here, it is not defined as power or magnificence, but rather an outpouring of love. The theologian, Stanley Hauerwas, in his book Cross-Shattered Christ, states, “How painful it is to acknowledge the reality of the Father’s sacrifice of the Son on the cross.” The hour of glory is the cross, for Jesus most manifests the love of God while dying on the cross. The cross IS the sacrament –a visible sign of an invisible reality-of God’s love for us.
We need to confess that the crucified Jesus is Lord without, as Hauerwas contends, “the sentimentality that grips so much of what passes for Christianity in our day … Sentimentality is the attempt to make the gospel conform to our needs, to make Jesus our ‘personal savior’, to make the suffering of Christ on the cross but an instant of general, unavoidable suffering… to avoid our sinful temptation to make Jesus’ words from the cross to all about us.” There is more to it than individual salvation. We must keep in mind that society, as a whole, is sinful and in need of salvation. We must remove the sentimental “I” and replace it with “US” as a whole civilization.
We, as Christians, are called to follow Jesus to the cross; to share in the glory of the Lord-the love of God for us. Not some vision of great power and magnificence, but simple Love that comes from Jesus suffering death on the cross. The Gospels tell us, “Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be.” We must be willing to suffer and die with Christ so that we to can be “like a grain of wheat that falls on the ground and dies so that it produces much fruit.” We are called to witness the Love/Glory of the Lord and share it with all around us. The glory is coming we must keep our eyes open and watch.
The familiar hymn, Mine eyes have seen the Glory of the Coming of the Lord, takes on a whole different dimension in light of this alternate definition of Glory. I pull out one verse in particular. “In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea, with a Glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me. As he died to make us Holy let us die that all be free, while God is marching on… Glory, Glory Halleluiah, his truth is marching on.”
We are God’s instruments in today’s world. We must be willing to accept the cost and joy of discipleship. Are you willing to follow Jesus to the cross, to suffer alongside our Lord, to acknowledge the sacrifice and proclaim God’s glory to all? Are you ready to accept the new covenant written on our hearts, the new covenant given to us by the reality of the greatest gift, the sacrifice of the Son on the cross for our salvation? My hope is that we can all answer with a resounding YES!!!
GLORY HALLELUIAH!! GOD’S LOVE IS MARCHING ON- for us, through us and in us.
Rev. Fr. Andrew Smith grew up in Appleton. WI. He studied Theology, Philosophy and Sociology at Lakeland University in Sheboygan, WI and completed his theological studies at Holy Redeemer Seminary of the UICC. Fr. Andrew was ordained to the diaconate in December of 2010 and to the Order of Presbyters in May of 2011. He entered his novitiate in the Order of Preachers Old Catholic in August of 2016 and took his three- year vows in May 2017. Fr. Andrew is pastor of St Dominic Old Catholic Church in Oshkosh, WI. He enjoys cooking, reading, writing and is an avid history buff.