Jeremiah echoes the Old Testament Wisdom tradition of “Blessing and Curse.” Those who trust in themselves alone have removed themselves from the sustaining grace of God, who blesses those who trust in the Lord. The prophet also notes the difficultly we human beings have of knowing ourselves and our motivations: “The heart is devious…who can understand it?”
1 Cornithians 15 contains Paul’s powerful declaration of the centrality of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Without this reality, our faith is in vain – utterly without foundation or hope.
The famous Beattitudes of Jesus appear both in Matthew and Luke. Luke emphasizes that those who lack here in this life are most open to the fullness of God’s reality and presence. Those who are “full” in this life are in store for the rude awakening when they see they have not opened their lives to the working of God among us.
Comment: We read the Old Testament understanding of blessing and curse through the lens of Jesus life, death and resurrection. We avoid simplistic ideas: that material prosperity indicates God’s favor or that adversity is a sign of punishment. (Though we still speak this way – we should not!) Rather we see the paradox that adversity may in fact open our eyes and hearts to see more deeply into the eternal purpose of our lives, or that superficial/material abundance can actually be harmful and destructive for human beings. The suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus point me to a shocking trust in God who Jesus calls his loving “Father,” yet who allows Jesus to die such a death. Jesus says that the Father holds intimate knowledge of us to the number of hairs on our head, and is completely worthy of our total trust. This is so hard for us! Jesus’ resurrection lets me know that the good God will indeed bring me through any “death” I face, into fullness of life.
David S. Robinson, Rector
Saint Matthew’s Episcopal Church
Maple Glen, PA 19002