Drawing Near by
One thing the Lord has impressed on me over the past few years is that I am dust. Each year has had more funerals than the last. In the past month, one friend has lost a husband and another has lost a son. Another friend, in the final stage of her cancer journey, has invited me to her memorial service and asked that I wear a bright dress. I am acutely aware that I will eventually be the guest of honor at just such an event. When I was told at the beginning of Lent that I was dust, my “amen” was heartfelt. Reflecting on the brevity and uncertainty of life makes me want to be sure that I am not just playing church, which we are cautioned against in two of today’s readings.
Jeremiah lived in a time of superficial revival. The Lord said, “My people have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters” (Jeremiah 2:13). Rampant injustice, oppression, and idolatry existed alongside religious observances. Jeremiah stood at the Temple gate and warned those coming and going from worship about the Lord’s judgment. Six hundred or so years later, Jesus taught at the Temple during the Feast of Tabernacles. Many who listened, within the Temple courts, questioned his origins and his authority, refusing to see him as the source of the living water.
Outward rituals have no transforming power, even though they can give a false sense of security. Intellectual debate without an intention to obey is immobilizing. May we stay close to the one who tabernacled with us, our fountain of living waters, the source of everlasting life, the one who gives victory over the grave. Dwelling eternally in His presence is what the Temple was pointing toward. It is all right that our dusty lives here are brief.
Amen to that last paragraph, Brennan!