Friday, May 21, 2010

A New Vision

Friday, May 21, 2010 -- Week of 7 Easter
John Eliot, Missionary among the Algonquin, 1690

Today's Readings for the Daily Office
(Book of Common Prayer, p. 965)
Psalms 102 (morning)       107:1-32 (evening)
Jeremiah 31:27-34
Ephesians 5:1-20
Matthew 9:9-17

First, a note about the new observation from our proposed calendar Holy Women, Holy Men:
John Eliot [1604-May 21, 1690] Apostle to the Indians, he came from England to New England where he translated the Bible and the Catechism into Algonquin, compiled many grammars of Amerindian languages and wrote texts books for tribal use. (May 21)

As we approach Sunday's feast of Pentecost, we hear a spirit-filled prophecy from Jeremiah. 

So much the previous content of Jeremiah's prophecy speaks of Israel's infidelity and injustice which, Jeremiah says, provoked God "to pluck up and to break down, to overthrow, destroy, and bring evil."  Jeremiah suffers with the people as the Babylonians invade and destroy Jerusalem and send so many of its people into exile.

Today's prophecy sees the coming days when God will reseed the land "with the seed of humans and the seed of animals," and God "will watch over them to build and to plant."

Then Jeremiah says something very significant.  Jeremiah has been among the prophets who interpreted Israel's fall as being God's judgment upon the nation for its unfaithfulness and its injustice, not just punishment for the generation of the living, but also a punishment for the sins of the previous generations.  The Ten Commandments speak of a God who will punish the children "for the iniquity of the parents, to the third and fourth generation."  Jeremiah quotes a common parable expressing that same sentiment:  "The parents have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge." 

But Jeremiah changes the rules.  He tells the people they will no longer speak this parable.  Punishment for sin will no longer be passed from one generation to the future generations, "but all shall die for their own sins; the teeth of everyone who eats sour grapes shall be set on edge."

This is a radical word.  In the name of God Jeremiah is changing a foundational principle enshrined in the Ten Commandments.  As God's prophet, he knew himself empowered by God to do so.  Ezekiel (ch. 18) will also adopt the same reinterpretation as Jeremiah, prophesying some years later.

We see in Hebrew Scripture a lively and malleable tradition of interpreting scripture.  In the Spirit, the prophets announced new things from God.  In the name of God's Spirit, the prophets would reinterpret and even change the words, the law and traditions that previous generations had received as settled revelation.  Jeremiah and Ezekiel challenge a tradition received from the Ten Commandments. 

Jesus lived in that same heritage.  He angered many because Jesus violated the Sabbath commandment according to its traditional interpretation.  He flaunted many of the purity laws which are enshrined in the Torah.  Jesus followed the tradition of the inclusive prophets, reaching beyond the boundaries of Judaism to extend healing, grace and table fellowship to those who were unclean according to some Biblical interpretations.  As we see in Matthew's gospel today, Jesus "sat at dinner (with) many tax collectors and sinners."  To those who criticized him, Jesus replied with a quote from Hosea 6:6, "Go and learn what this means, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.'"

Jeremiah imagined a day that would come.  A day of a new covenant.  No longer would God's law be something outside the people, an objective text of rules and statutes.  No longer would the covenant be one like the covenant of the Exodus, a covenant that the people broke.  The new covenant will be within our hearts.  God will be in our hearts and write God's will within our consciences.  "I will be their God, and they shall be my people," says the Lord. 

People would no longer need to teach and learn the rules, "or say to each other, 'Know the Lord,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more."

It is not hard to see Pentecost, and the coming of the Spirit to dwell with us, as a fulfillment of Jeremiah's vision.  In the Spirit, God's love is written into our hearts.  Jesus unlocks free access to forgiveness.  The law is superseded by the simple life of love:  Love God, love neighbor, love self.  God is love.  All people know love, from the least of them to the greatest.  God's Holy Spirit seals the new covenant of love given to us in Jesus.  Everything is rewritten under the new rule of love.  Thanks be to God.



Audio podcast: Listen to an audio podcast of the most recent Morning Reflections from today and the past week. Click the following link: Morning Reflection Podcasts

About Morning Reflections
Morning Reflections is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.

Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117
An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at
Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site at this location --

The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church
is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

Visit our web site at

Our Rule of Life
We aspire to...
worship weekly
pray daily
learn constantly
serve joyfully
live generously.

Lowell Grisham, Rector
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, Arkansas


At 12:18 PM, Blogger Seoc Dughlas said...

Father Lowell, "gras agus sith oirbh." This means, "Grace and peace on you," in Gaelic. Of course, I wonder why I wish more grace to come to you as I find your thoughts are so filled with peace, love and well, grace!

Again, I'm awestruck! I have heard these Old Testament prophecies many times before. I also read the Ten Commandments several times previously. I've often wondered if Ezekiel and Jeremiah were contradicting the Scriptures themselves. You, father, have done something here that has forever changed that.

You see, it just hit me that at the time of Jeremiah, Ezekiel and even down to this day, the Jewish traditions are "living." They can change, much like language can throughout the centuries that it is being used. If Christianity comes from that tradition, and is considered a "living" tradition as well... Well, it seems to open up a lot of doors!

I'm glad that you shared this, Father Lowell. It looks as though grace has come upon me this morning.

--Seoc Dughlas
Now, I have a blog spot:
Come and visit me sometime.

At 1:40 PM, Blogger Anders Branderud said...

Quote: “ The law is superseded by the simple life of love”

I want to comment on that.
Ribi Yehoshua ha-Mashiakh (the Messiah) from Nazareth’s authentic teachings reads:
[Torah, Oral Law & Hebrew Matityahu: Ribi Yehoshua Commanded Non-Selective Observance
The Netzarim Reconstruction of Hebrew Matityahu (NHM) 5:17-20]
[Glossaries found in the website below.]:

"I didn't come to subtract from the Torâh of Moshëh or the Neviim, nor to add onto the Torah of Moshëh did I come. Because, rather, I came to [bring about the] complete [i.e., non-selective] observance of them in truth.
Should the heavens and ha-Aretz exchange places, still, not even one י or one of the Halâkhâh of the Torah of Moshehshall so much as exchange places; toward the time when it becomes that they are all being performed -- i.e., non- selectively -- in full.
For whoever deletes one [point of] the Halâkhâh of these mitzwot from Torah, or shall teach others such, [by those in] the Realm of the heavens he shall be called 'deleted.' And whoever ratifies and teaches them shall be called ' Ribi' in the Realm of the heavens.

For I tell you that unless your tzәdâqâh is over and above that of the [Hellenist-Roman Pseudo- Tzedoqim] Codifiers of halakhah, and of the Rabbinic- Perushim sect of Judaism, no way will you enter into the Realm of the heavens." (see NHM)

Quote from ; “History Museum”

The reconstruction is made using a scientific and logic methodology. One of the premises is that the historical Ribi Yehoshua was a Torah-observant Pharisee (why that premise is true is found in the above website, in which you also will find more information about why a reconstruction is needed).

The historical Ribi Yehoshua and his followers Netzarim observed Torah non-selectively.

Here is one of the mitzwot that one are required to follow in order to follow the teachings of Ribi Yehoshua:
Torah including Halakhah with a formal logical connection to Torah (i.e. it is a mitzwah (directive or military-style order)), requires subordination to a beit-din. The only option (learn more why that is the case in the below website) for those whom believe that Ribi Yehoshua is ha-Mashiakh and wants to follow him is to subordinate to the beit-din ha-Netzarim (the only legitimate Netzarim:

That is required for the person who want to be faithful to Torah.

Anders Branderud


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