|Crucifix from Florence, Italy, gift of friend||.|
I Will Inscribe My Law on Their Hearts
Good Friday 2012 Meditation
By The Rev. Marcia McRae
At Nelson Chapel AME Church
For Holy Week Community Lunch, Bainbridge, GA
Year B RCL: Isaiah 52:13-53:12, Psalm 22,
Hebrews 10:16-25, John 18:1-19:42
We meet as the family of God today for our final lunch of this Holy Week. We have not neglected to meet together, and we have encouraged one another to love and good deeds, as our reading from Hebrews encourages us to do.
As part of God’s family, shining the Light of Jesus in this community in a variety of ways, we have more love to share and more good deeds to do to bring more people into God’s family. Among those good deeds is sharing the Good News that is written on our hearts and minds: Jesus died for us – for all people. Jesus died to restore us to right relationship with God.
While we enjoy fellowship and good food here, let us think of this hour on that Good Friday and ponder the torture Jesus suffers for us. John’s Gospel in the 19th chapter says it is about noon when Pilate gives up trying to save Jesus, gives up trying to placate the crowd. It is about noon when Pilate sits on the judge’s bench and hands Jesus over to be crucified. Pilate hands Jesus over to die for us on the hard wood of the cross. This reality gets to our hearts.
The heart of the matter is Good News: Jesus dies on that cross to create for us that new relationship with God. In that new relationship, God writes God’s law on our hearts. Some translations say: “I will...inscribe it upon their hearts.”
God inscribes the law on stone tablets for Moses to take to the people. Now, God inscribes the law on our hearts. To inscribe is to write deeply, to etch. In geometry to inscribe is “to draw...one figure within another figure so that the inner (is) in the boundary of the outer at as many points as possible.”
God inscribes God’s law on our hearts so that it is in the boundary of our hearts at as many points as possible – at as many points as possible in our lives. This anchors our hearts to God so that we can know God more deeply, more intimately, than we know facts.
This anchors our hearts to God so that we can remember that God forgives. God blots out our sins. God says: "I will remember their sins no more." In our technological age, we might say God erases our sins so completely, they can’t be retrieved. God erases them from God’s hard drive with top security software. That’s expensive software. I’ve looked into it with a friend.
Computer experts tell us there are cheaper alternatives. One way is to shoot a bullet into the hard drive. My friend asked her son, an expert hunter, do this. So, one day, he takes rifle and hard drive into the woods and is gone a long time. My friend gets worried. What has happened to her son?
Finally he returns and says: “It is not easy as you would think.” He says it is really hard to shoot a bullet through a hard drive to wipe away the memory. It is something I can’t do....I have no firearm.
My tech friend says to erase the memory in my old computer I can hammer a nail into its hard drive. If it’s hard to shoot a bullet into a hard drive, how much harder is it for non-muscular me to hammer in a nail?
It is easier to hammer a nail through human flesh....Jesus’ dies on that cross to erase our sins from God’s memory. Jesus dies on the cross for us. God totally wipes out our guilt. God totally forgives us. God remembers our sins no more. When we confess our sins and turn them over to God, we should remember them no more. He who has promised IS faithful.
God forgives. God remembers no more. AND God renews a right spirit, a steadfast spirit, within (us)”. As one commentator notes, God restores...(our) lost relationship, our lost harmony between us and God. Jesus stretches out his arms of love on the hard wood of the cross to draw all people to him – to draw all people into relationship with God the Holy Trinity.
“Therefore, my friends” – my brothers and sisters in God’s family – “since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through...(his flesh)...let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith...Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised IS faithful.”
This IS Good News to share! God loves us. God forgives. God restores our relationship because Jesus stretches out his arms of love on the hard wood of that cross so that everyone might come within the reach of his saving embrace...
Lord Jesus, we lift our hands in praise and thanks to you. We are your hands and feet and mouth in this community. We pray, Loving God: “So clothe us in your Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you; for the honor of your Name.” We pray in the name of the Holy Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.”
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...With God’s help we will respect the dignity of every human being.
...Con el auxilio de Dios, respetaremos la dignidad de todo ser humano.
Book of Common Prayer p. 305
El Libro de Oración Común pj. 225.
 Note: Photo is of a crucifix from Florence, Italy. A gift from a friend.
 Book of Common Prayer. “Morning Prayer II”. P. 101.
 Jewish Study Bible: Jewish Publication Society TANAKH Translation. P. 991.
 The American College Dictionary. C.L. Barnhart, Ed. in Chief. P. 628.
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 Harper’s Bible Commentary. General Ed.: James. L. Mays. P. 457.
 Book of Common Prayer. Morning Prayer II”. P. 101. Text adapted.
 Ibid. Paraphrased.
 Book of Common Prayer. Morning Prayer II”. P. 101. Text adapted.