New Covenant, New Creation

Jeremiah 31:27-34
“The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of humans and the seed of animals. And just as I have watched over them to pluck up and break down, to overthrow, destroy, and bring evil, so I will watch over them to build and to plant, says the Lord. In those days they shall no longer say:

“The parents have eaten sour grapes,
and the children’s teeth are set on edge.”

But all shall die for their own sins; the teeth of everyone who eats sour grapes shall be set on edge.

The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt– a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.”

Jeremiah envisioned a covenant relationship with God that was directly from God as an act of creation and forgiveness of sins, putting all individuals in a relationship with him and holding all individuals accountable for their own actions (“but all shall die for their own sins…, No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.)

I believe the later Christian development of the idea of Jesus’ substitutionary atonement for the forgiveness of sins is an unfortunate solution to a problem that never existed: the original sin of Adam and Eve imputed to the rest of mankind. Jeremiah offers a solution directly from God that requires no intermediary or imputed/alien righteousness.

Like the original covenant, the new covenant was kicked off by an act of Creation by God, and Genesis creation language is here too: “God will sow human and animal seed”. And covenant language: “I will be their God and they shall be my people.”

I believe that in scripture, we find ancient beliefs which bear witness to realities that have always been true. What Jeremiah believes about Judah and Israel, I believe has always been true about all of creation. I believe that we’re all born into a covenant with a divinity that creates and recreates based on covenant faithfulness to love and forgiveness. Because forgiveness is necessary for existence and creation in the world we live in, right? I believe forgiveness transforms us continually into the Divinity that creates us, making us the Divine agents of New Creation.

One-world government, Isaiah style.

Isaiah 9:1-7

For Isaiah, Christmas is all about one-world government:

“For a child has been born for us,
a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore.”

How is this to happen? Not by conquest, but by making war irrelevant. War itself is overthrown. But how? Isaiah’s answer – people finally wake up and see the light:

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness–on them light has shined. You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder. For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire.”

Isaiah believed that the world could have a happy ending after all, simply as a result of everyone waking up and seeing the light. And I don’t believe that means everyone will convert to Christianity. It means everyone realizes that God already loves them; we don’t have a deity problem anymore. We never did. God is pro-Earth and all its inhabitants. Put it to rest. Forget about the verses that say people are God’s enemies. Re-interpret them. Look at them from a sociological perspective, or reject them outright but whatever you do, don’t believe them. Wake up and see the light, and let’s get governing.

 

Comfort, my planet II

If at any point in your life you’ve ever experienced unconditional love from anyone, you’re probably going to pull through this. Even if you have to endure some pretty brutal shit. I believe when someone loves you unconditionally they deposit within you an endless spring that continues to water you for the rest of your life even when you don’t realize it. Even if you didn’t realize you were being unconditionally loved when it happened.

I think this is the way the Hebrew prophet Isaiah felt about his deity: “For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.” (Isaiah 61.11)

For all their faults, deities seem to be ace at getting people to feel unconditionally loved.

I believe that’s because unconditional love is our way of unleashing divinity on each other.

See here for more about what Isaiah and some other ancient Jews thought about what happens to people who get loved unconditionally.

 

Calling all Earthlings

2 Peter 3:13 – But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.

The story of the universe is one of rebirth, a rebirth that is a new creation of all things. The liturgy, and indeed all religion is at its best when it faithfully bears witness to this story. During Advent the Liturgy directs us to reenact and re-envision the new birth, both individually and communally. In this way the story of Jesus is truly the story of humanity. If Jesus is of one being with the father, and we’re one with Jesus, then all life is at least sacred, if not wholly divine. That means the good news is that we as a singular creation are the ones who get to (must) make it happen. It means everyone has to get on board or it won’t work. One might even say that the good news needs to go out to the ends of the Earth or something like that.