Sunday’s sermon is entitled “Written on the Heart”, a reflection on Jeremiah 31: 31-34 where God proclaims “Behold, the days are coming when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt……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.”
We know that this passage from Jeremiah is very important, because it is the longest single quote from the Hebrew Bible (which Christians have called the Old Testament) that appears in the New Testament, in the Letter to the Hebrews, Chapter 8. We’ll take a look at the meaning of two key words: “covenant” and “heart”, and how they apply to us in the 21st century.
Are our hearts in the right place? Having survived World War II, the Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn found himself right back in Hell when he was thrown into Stalin’s Gulag. When he found out what had happened to his very best friend after the war (hint: the friend wasn’t thrown into the Gulag) Solzhenitsyn offered this reflection: “The line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. During the life of any heart this line keeps changing place; sometimes it is squeezed one way by evil, and sometimes it shifts to allow enough space for good to flourish. One and the same human being is, at various stages, under various circumstances, a totally different human being. At times he is close to being a devil, at times to sainthood.”