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The Fifth Sunday of Lent

Jeremiah 31.31–34
Hebrews 5.5–10
John 12.20–33

At last a nice easy covenant. At last, Jeremiah seems to be suggesting, God will give up trying to teach us things and just zap us, changing us so that it becomes natural to us to know God. We won’t need to be taught, we won’t need to ask others, or experiment or learn about God through rehearsing past history. God will be part of us, written on our hearts. But I’m sorry to have to tell you that it isn’t that simple. Although the emotion that is upper- most in this passage is longing – for the time when God and his people will be united – there is also anger and despair. The words that Jeremiah is speaking to his people on behalf of God are very hard to hear. For one thing, he is saying that the covenant that constituted them as God’s people in the first place has been broken. The story of the Exodus is a foundational story for the people, and they base all their identity and their claims on God on that covenant. But Jeremiah says, very baldly, ‘You broke that covenant. It’s dead and gone.’ He is also implying that the people are actually incapable of faithfulness and love of God...

Taken from Lectionary Reflections – Year B by Jane Williams

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