When I was reflecting on these verses in Jeremiah, the Notre Dame Cathedral caught fire. Breaking news from Paris kept drawing my attention from the Scripture to the television screen. I moved from God’s assurance that the divine-human covenant could not be destroyed to feeling deep sadness as I watched this iconic house of God continue to blaze.
As the hours passed, reports focused on how much of Notre Dame and its treasures would survive. Experts speculated about the extent of the damage. Religious leaders discussed what it would mean to the world to lose this holy place that had become a spiritual home to so many. Along with factual information about the fire, another conversation emerged as this story unfolded. This one raised the theme that Jeremiah asks his readers to consider. In a world in which even the most formidable structures can break, or burn, or disappear, does any unshakable reality exist for us? Is there any solid foundation we can stand on that will never be moved? Using Jeremiah’s words, God invites us into a covenant relationship that no one can break.
The journalists covering the Notre Dame fire offered their microphones to the grieving, who tried to explain that though this loss was painful, their faith is not tied to structures made by human hands. Outside the burning cathedral, the choirs that formed to sing their faith illustrated this truth. Anthems that were usually heard inside the sanctuary now filled the streets surrounding it.
Faith is a reality and a relationship that transcends our temporary, breakable world. On difficult and painful days, Jeremiah wants us to remember that.
When has the unbreakable nature of God’s covenant given you hope?
Holy God, when so many things fall apart, may I hold onto the realities that never will. Amen.