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Lent Devotion #4 - Hope and Tragedy

One of the most hopeful passages of Scripture is found in John 14:27. And one of the most tragic passages of Scripture is found in Jeremiah 16:5. Both passages deal with the peace of God and our search for it. What might we learn from them this Lenten season if we meditate upon them and the text around them? 

Jeremiah was ordained to be a prophet even before he was born. Like all other prophets, he spoke for God and tried to bring his people back into a right relationship with the One who pulled them out of slavery and called them to be a nation of priests. But Jeremiah was ignored and attacked by the very people he hoped to save. And, in the end, God proclaims that “I have taken away My peace from this people.” And along with it, “lovingkindness and mercies.” No one pays attention to God’s law anymore. They follow other gods. And they think only of themselves and their wants. How can they expect God to live with them?

Centuries later, the promised savior of the world is born and he builds around himself the foundation for a new people.  A people made up of all nations and all races who will be called Christians. As Jesus prepares to fulfill his mission on a cross at Calvary, he promises his followers that he will not leave them without support. Even as they struggle to make sense out his actions, our Lord says to them, ““Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Jesus tells them on several occasions that if they love him, they will keep his commandments. Because true peace, lasting peace, comes from being in a right relationship with God and His creation. It comes from accepting that the world is not ours.  We are but stewards. God’s love, His grace, and His mercy are not for us to keep, but to give away. When we accept that our lives belong to him and not to us, fear falls away and peace blossoms.  Ponder what it means to follow His lead. Then pass it on.


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