This Sunday is “The Fifth Sunday IN Lent.”  Our Lenten Journey 2024, “A Journey to Wholeness.”  I’m focusing on the Hebrew assigned text each week “so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.”

This week Jeremiah 31 speaks of God’s promise of “A New Covenant,” for God’s people, unlike the old Covenant.”  That raises the question, “what was wrong with the Old Covenant?”  Well, nothing was wrong with the old Covenant.  The problem was in its application and failure of folks to keep it.  There were a variety of reasons: willful disobedience, EGO (Edging God Out), or trying to remember and keep 613 laws was impossible.  Violating any of them brought guilt, condemnation, and judgement.

Reading God’s promise for “A New Covenant” I remembered Jesus saying in Mark 2:22, “… no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins.”  It is important to remember Jesus in instituting the sacrament of Holy Communion called it “A New Covenant.”   In doing so, Jesus made forgiveness, love, and freedom in grace parts of “A New Covenant.”

None of these things can be held in the old wineskins of legalistic rules.  Trying to do so will result in love, freedom and grace bursting the old wineskins and spilling out on the floor of our lives in inappropriate ways, ill-advised ways.  But when they are put in the new wineskins of a new covenant, the fullness of forgiveness, love and freedom in grace that provides help, hope, endurance, and encouragement on our “Journey to Wholeness.”

Join us for worship this week, in-person, by Zoom, Facebook Livestream, or YouTube.  I will be preaching more about this in my sermon “A New Covenant,” based on “Jeremiah 31:31-34.”

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