Community in Action January 8, 2021

“This cup is the

new covenant

 in my blood,

 which is poured out

 for you.”

Luke 22:20b

    If ever you wondered why there are four gospels the above sentence from Luke is a good illustration. This is the only gospel which records Jesus statement that his sacrifice is a sign of the “new” covenant. Both Matthew and Mark record him saying the cup is the covenant in his blood, but only in Luke does it record the word “new.”

    John doesn’t even have this part of the supper recorded, it seems John, which has the longest record of what happened in the Upper Room, five chapters, is focusing on the ritual of washing the feet of the disciples. This would be an interesting ritual to explore at another time.

    So why is this word “new” so important? Many of the faithful believe it is because in the book of Jeremiah this prophet introduces the Lord saying he will make a new covenant with his chosen people, both those from the northern kingdom, Israel, and the southern kingdom, Judah.

    Jeremiah tells us that something new is coming. Kind of the like the song “The Wells Fargo Wagon is a coming” if you ever heard the musical “The Music Man.” So we draw a line from this saying in the 7th Century BC to Jesus’ words in the 1st Century. We believe there was an old covenant with the descendants of Abraham, but when Christ came God established a new covenant with those who follow Jesus.

    It is no longer only the Jews who are called to be in God’s family. The new covenant allows any and all who choose to follow Christ. In Paul’s writings we hear verification of our oneness in Christ with the words from Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

    This oneness is one result of this new covenant and without Luke’s record we would not have heard from the words of Jesus that he established this new covenant.

    So when we think of our relationship to God it must be in light of this new covenant. We need to be willing to embrace everyone who receives Christ and I think we need to be open to sharing with others that a relationship with God is available to them as well.

    How we have survived during this pandemic is partly through the grace and mercy of God. If people wonder how we are able to continue to have hope and peace in the midst of all the chaos around us we need to be able to tell them it is because of a higher power beyond us.

    We need to continually to find ways we can remind ourselves and each other that God is with us through it all. This brings me to a wonder I noticed in my office yesterday.

    Five years ago I received a paper white bulb from the experience I had with SoulCARE. Every year it would die down and then come spring time it would begin to grow again. Well guess what. Last year 2020, it did not bloom or even grow. Yet yesterday I happened to look at my window sill and I saw three green shoots about two to four inches long growing out of the container with the paper white bulb in it.

    Is this a sign of new growth for 2021? I think so. I think we will see new growth and amazing blossoms in our lives in 2021. I think the new covenant given to us through Jesus will bring us “unprecedented” hope and peace in 2021.

    Cultivating high expectations with you,

    Pastor Randy    

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