Sermon for March 18, 2018: “Covenant: God’s Post-It Note”

Reading: Jeremiah 31:31-34
31 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt–a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 No longer shall they teach one another, 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.

Sermon: “God’s Post-It Note”

Once upon a time there was a scientist named Spencer who wanted to create a very strong glue.
By accident, Spencer created a reusable adhesive. He thought it was a great invention.
The people he worked with?
Not so much.
Spencer tried to convince people at his company that his new invention was the best thing ever.
But for many it was a solution without a problem.
And then came Art.
Art was a friend of Spencer.
Art sang in his church choir.
And in his hymnal, he had bookmarked his hymnal with little pieces of paper but when it was time to sing, the pieces of paper fell out.
And it was driving Art mad!
So Art did something about it.
Art, came up with the idea of using Spencer’s adhesive to anchor his bookmark in his hymn book.

And it worked.

And from there, Art and Spencer invented what we now call Post It Notes!

How many of you use or have used Post It Notes?

In my ministry and personal life, the Post It Note has been a great resource for me.

I use these Post-It Notes for reminders.
• Wallet
• Book
• Notebook

Perhaps you like to use Post It Notes in your work and/or in your lives.
These Notes have become a part of our culture.

And today, I want to use the Post It-Note to talk about God and Covenant.
The last month I have been talking about Covenants:
How God makes these covenants (God is the main player)
How God keeps his part of the covenants (in spite of the sins and failures of people like Noah, Abraham, Sarah)
How God acts and then we react (the Because/Therefore life)
And now we have another covenant story from Jeremiah.

And in this lesson God talks about a “new covenant.”

Let me tell you why that is important.
And I wish my mom, the English teacher, was here so she could hear me say the following:

It is the only time in the Old Testament where we see the word “new” modify the word “covenant.”

Quick Grammar Lesson:

Modifiers are
words,
phrases,
or clauses
that provide description in sentences.

Essentially, modifiers breathe life into sentences.
A modifier also changes a meaning.

What makes this new covenant so new?
Now in ancient times, a covenant was usually printed out on stone or papyrus.

But this new covenant is different because it isn’t printed on stone or paper.
It’s printed
Written
On the hearts of the people.

Now that is some nice imagery but what does it mean?
And why should we care about the location of this covenant?

Because rather than have the people have to look for a piece of paper or stone to remind them of this promise, they can look inward and find their answers.

Think of it this way, if you write something down on a piece of paper or stone, there is a chance it could be misplaced or thrown away.

But if it is IN your heart,
IN your soul,
there is no way you can lose it.

And how do I know this?
Because God put it there.

This is what I like to call God’s Post-It Note,
God’s covenant,
God’s promise.

And just like I put a little Post-It note to remind me of a date, an address, or a number,
God has placed a reminder inside each and every one of us.

What does this reminder say?
It says, “I love you. Now and forever. Sincerely, God.”

And what does this love look like?

Well for Israel and for us this love was an eraser.

God takes our sins,
puts them on a blackboard (whiteboard),
and then erases them from His memory.

This goes back to the whole idea of the BECAUSE/THEREFORE life:
BECAUSE God has forgiven me, THEREFORE I go live a redeemed life
God does this out of love for us.

God CHOOSES to:
Forgive
Forget.

And Israel’s past…
OUR past…
Truly become The Past!

What God gave Israel is a clean slate.
What God gives us is a new beginning.

Now let me admit there will come a time that you may not feel that Post-In Note inside you.
It’s there, but you just can’t seem to find it or feel.
The good news is that God puts Post-It notes all around us as well.

For us, here in church, those notes come in the form of:
confession
the hymns
the Sharing of the Peace

and the sacraments

I recently saw an add for a new Post-It called the Extreme Post-It where it can stick on any surface, even when it becomes wet:

Well in the Sacraments we get God’s Extreme Post-Its because
In Baptism we get to SEE and FEEL that God’s love is real.
In Communion get to SEE and TASTE that God’s love is real.

“SIGNS of God’s gracious love”
Signs.
Reminders.
Post-It Notes.

And with this Post It Note: we are given
A new beginning:
For the Exiled
For the lost
For the hurt
For the wounded
For the hated
For the forgotten

And this is a Post-It that God wants us to share with the entire world.

And there are so many people who need to hear about God’s Post It Note.
People like the Greeks in our Gospel.

“Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”
Pastor Steve Gerhard always had this quote on his pulpit.
They not only want to see Jesus, they want to talk to Jesus.
They want to experience Jesus.
They want to see the reality that Jesus is offering.

Maybe not so much in words but in actions.
The people need to see, hear, and feel the very real presence of Jesus.
They want to hear of a love that knows no conditions.
They want to hear of an acceptance of grace.
They want to be a part of something greater than themselves.
They want to know about God’s Post-It Note.

And God is ready to show them.
He is ready to show us.
He is ready for us to share it.

Today, as you come up for Communion,
I want you to take a Post-It Note:
You have a choice:
“God loves me.”
“God forgives me.”
And put it somewhere you can see it:
Refrigerator
Mirror
Bible
TV
iPhone

Put it where you NEED to see it to remind yourself that God loves you.

And don’t think of it as a solution without a problem.

Think of it as a covenant with a promise.