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My prayers are with you for a JOY-filled Reformation Day. “Give thanks to the LORD for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever” (Ps. 136:1).
My problem with choosing favorite wellness scriptures is that ALL scripture brings healing to the soul, the body and the spirit.
Case in point: I think that the traditional Old Testament Lesson for Reformation Day from Jeremiah 31 is a message of healing.
Sin has broken our life with God and our life with one another. The God of covenant grace, in Israel’s darkest hour promised healing, and the message of promise was itself a work of healing for the people.
As an added bonus, I also see a message of vocational restoration in this message. Read on!We like to break the Lutheran Wellness Wheel into these three categories: Life with God, Life with Others and Life in Ministry.
First, Life with God. Jeremiah relays the Lord’s promise, “Behold the days are coming when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel… For I will forgive their iniquity and I will remember their sins no more.” Dr. Luther did not initiate the new covenant, of course. Jesus our Lord did.
But when the Church had drifted into the errors of ancient Israel, Luther reminded us of the unilateral, one-way, grace alone covenant of God to forgive the sins of those who wander (me!)
My life with God is healed, I have a life with God, because when the old covenant failed by my rebellion, Jesus came and restored me.
How about Life with Others? My life in community is transformed by this saving grace of the new covenant. Listen to Jeremiah: “No longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.”
The forgiveness of sins equalizes our relationship when we stand together at the foot of the cross. To know the LORD by grace through faith is also to share in the confession of our sins, right out loud in each others’ hearing, and to share in the absolution of our sins.
That restores. Forgiveness heals the division we bring to our relationships by our unkindness toward each other. God grace heals our life with one another.
Now for my little surprise: how about Life in Ministry? If you read on to the next chapter, Jeremiah 32, the word of the LORD tells Jeremiah, “The time of exile is coming. The nation will be hauled away to Babylon, but your work is not done. Buy your cousin’s field in your home neighborhood of Benjamin. There’s work for you to do. My covenant promise is a word of hope and a future. Get ready for working the fields. There’s harvest ahead.”
I hope you’ll find time today to bask in the glorious grace of God’s new covenant in Christ. Celebrate your new life with God and the peace in the Church that comes from the forgiveness we enjoy and share.
And rejoice in your calling to the harvest field.
Thanks for reading.