‘Thus says the LORD through Jeremiah…
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
Again I will build you, and you shall be built , O virgin Israel!
Again you shall adorn yourself with tambourines
And shall go forth in the dance of the merrymakers”’ (Jer 31:3b-4).
What a joy to be sharing the everlasting love of the LORD on this first day of resurrection week. Peter in his message to the gentile Christians as recorded in Acts 10, demonstrates to those gentiles gathered in the home of Cornelius, the wideness and inclusivity of this steadfast love. He presents the gospel of Jesus’ death and resurrection to them in a nutshell: “Truly I understand that God knows no partiality…God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good…They put Him to death by hanging Him on a tree, but God raised Him up on the third day and made Him to appear…” (Acts 10:34-40).
This resurrection story is corroborated and enhanced by John in his account of Mary Magdalene’s experience at finding an empty tomb on the third day after Jesus ‘crucifixion; here we see another dimension of the steadfast love of the LORD as it becomes really personal… ‘Jesus said to her “Mary” and she turned and answered Him in her own tongue “Rabboni” which means teacher’ (John 20:16,17).
I think that Paul in his letter to the Colossian Church shows us how we can be part of the resurrection story. He says ” if then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on the earth” (Colossians 3:1-2)
To Think About / Discuss:
I love the inclusive, the personal and ongoing nature of the steadfast love of the LORD. We see it across all of Scripture in the readings chosen for today-(the Hebrew scriptures of Ps 118 and Jeremiah; the Lukan account of Peter’s experience with the gentile Christians as recorded in Acts ; John’s eyewitness account of Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb and lastly Paul’s practical suggestions of the ‘how to’ of getting in on the resurrection story.
In the light of the HIV\Aids pandemic and in particular the ongoing notion of stigma, how important it is to counter this last with the ongoing and everlasting love of the LORD. This is an inclusive and personal love which embraces all who trust in the saving love of the Lord Jesus Christ. Such love compels us whether we are sufferers or onlookers to ‘Set our minds on the things that are above and NOT on the things that are on the earth’
Written By: Rev .Jessica McCarter Assistant Priest St James Anglican Church, Ladybrand. Free State and trained ‘Churches, Channel of Hope’ facilitator