Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Keep My Covenant, Keep My Word

By Beth DeCristofaro

I will maintain my covenant with you and your descendants after you throughout the ages as an everlasting pact, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. … God also said to Abraham:  “On your part, you and your descendants after you must keep my covenant throughout the ages.” (Genesis 17: 4, 9)

Jesus said to the Jews:  “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.”  (John 8:51)

Lord God, I seek to serve you in all things.  Soften my heart so that I do hear your voice and heed it in all things.  May I live to forever see your face.

Jesus, again and again in his ministry, teaches that eternal life waits for anyone who follows him, who chooses his way.  Of course, his audience often argues.  How can this be, they ask, pointing out that their patriarch Abraham died. Even Jesus when confronted with Lazarus’ death cried even though he knew that Lazarus’ death afforded him an opportunity to publicly display God’s mercy and will to those assembled.  Everyone who heard Jesus’ words had met death in their families and in their villages. 

Jesus says to his followers much like God told Abraham, keep my Word.  Jesus’ Word is love, fulfilling the law which begins in the two greatest commandments: love God above all and love your neighbor as yourself. Fr. Richard Rohr speaks of the perpetual outpouring of God’s love.  “You can’t be more loving than God; it’s not possible!”

“And we're all saved by mercy. Knowing this ahead of time gives us courage, so we don’t need to live out of fear, but from love. To the degree you have experienced intimacy with God, you won’t be afraid of death because you’re experiencing the first tastes and promises of heaven in this world.”  (Adapted from Intimacy: The Divine Ambush, disc 9)

Place yourself in God’s presence and ponder who you might be if your identifiers – job, relationships, habits, health, nationality, and all were stripped away.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in his poem “Who Am I?” concludes, “Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine. Whoever I am, Thou knowest, O God, I am thine!”  In being God’s own, each of us has an eternal covenant with God and eternity to be God’s.  Are you keeping your part of the covenant?

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