Mrs. Dixon’s fourth grade class was a burgeoning nest of young love. That was the year when girls leapfrogged past spiders on the list of interesting creatures in the life of a boy. After lunch each day we would have a half-hour or so of time dedicated for quiet study. But the subject most pursued during this “quiet time” was the study of relational engagement. Notes were carefully constructed, though with little imagination or variance. “Will you ‘go with me’? Yes __ or __ ” Who knew that romance was so straightforward? It is ironic that young love could be reduced to a form letter.
But if, perchance, the note was returned with the ‘Yes’ box marked, things immediately got complicated. First, the idea of “going with” someone was amorphous. Where were we going? Were we actually going somewhere? Was the relationship supposed to “go somewhere?” Sure, there was some public identification as a couple, with all the requisite teasing that accompanied each ‘go-wither’s’ gender clique, but no one knew what happened next. Then, quickly and without warning, the euphoria of a “Yes” on that original note was followed by the crushing news from everyone that you had broken up and that your beloved was now ‘going with’ someone else. Relationships often were born and died without anything passing between boy and girl except a note. While pride was briefly humbled in the dust, there was little relational pain, because after all, two days and a checked box on a passed note is not a recipe for intimacy.
All this relational callousness can never prepare you, however, for the real, deep, intense pain that comes from broken love. When that person in whom your hopes, dreams, tears, and vulnerability have been lovingly vested breaks faith and moves on, it releases intense emotional energy. Like the splitting of the powerful bonds that hold the atom together, relational fission creates massive devastation, sweeping away those in its shock-waves. I pray that you have not experienced this personally, but I imagine that you have. So much invested, so much given up and now what? With every pain, a little callousness develops, a little trust is lost, a little hope is gone. But have you ever considered how God reacts toward us when we break faith with him and move on and away from Him — the most intimate of lovers?
The ancient prophet, Jeremiah preached during a time of both apathy and antipathy toward the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The Twentieth Century prophet, Francis Schaeffer, called Jeremiah the prophet for post-modern times, because our contemporary culture, like that of Jeremiah’s day, has turned away from love for God and has moved on in its headlong pursuit of self-love in a relational fission which has ignited stunning devastation. In his very first recorded sermon, Jeremiah makes an impassioned plea on behalf of Israel’s divine husband to leave her sordid affairs and return to her true love, lest she destroy herself in the process.
How would we react if our beloved treated us as God’s people treated Him? And before we cast too many stones on ancient Israel, let us be honest if things are really any different with us? How patient, how tender, how willing to reconcile would we be with such a spouse? Yet, in this word we hear the great grace God extended to the rebellious and unfaithful who have refused the fountain of living waters to drink from stagnant and broken troughs.
Join us this Sunday, July 7 as we examine a terrible picture of spiritual unfaithfulness in Jeremiah 2:1-13 and consider the deadly consequences of abandoning God but the life giving grace He extends to us in Christ. We meet from 5:00 – 6:30 pm in The Commons at St. Andrews Anglican Church at 8300 Kanis Rd in Little Rock. Click here for directions. Come with a friend and join us for fellowship and worship. We look forward to seeing you there.