When my oldest niece, Amanda, was an infant we abused her terribly. Not the kind of abuse that would require social services to come and take her away, but we did set her up for our own amusement. What’s worse, we took pictures. There are whole pages in my photo album of her at no more than a few weeks old with a giant bow on her head – at least it seemed giant on top of her tiny head. How could we have done that to a helpless infant? But we did, and we thought it was funny.
It didn’t seem to faze her. She grew up to be a normal kid. She’s even seen the photos, so she knows it happened even if she doesn’t remember it. I don’t remember her ever indicating that this incident was something she felt she needed to overcome.
Still, it’s Lent and I am trying to get a few things off my chest. OH who am I kidding? I don’t regret taking those photos one single bit. It was funny at the time and it still is. Remind me and I’ll show the photos the next time you’re here.
Today’s reading is Jeremiah 31:31-34, the same passage I preached on this morning. As a result I’d rather not revisit it so soon, except to say that this is also the passage I preached on at Amanda’s baptism. That was 1987 and I was still in seminary. And this may be hard to believe, but I was not the fantastic preacher that I am today. That sermon, as I recall, was a little boring. I mean, as I remember it, it bored even me. Amanda didn’t seem to care, but then she slept through it.
I suppose I still have a copy of that sermon somewhere. I should go back and see what I had to say. How could any sermon on this passage about God making a new covenant with us be boring? There is nothing boring about a God who always make the first move and always remains faithful, even when we are unfaithful. That’s astounding, and generous, and gracious.
Thank you, God. Thank for being gracious and forgiving and generous.