Tuesday of Advent I – Jeremiah 33:14-16

14 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 15 In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 16 In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’

If you are reading these devotions on the day for which they were written, you are reading them on Giving Tuesday. I am not finding that in my regular liturgical calendar, but all the institutions of higher education I have ever attended apparently want me to know that this is a day which I need to observe. Apparently, the best way to keep this day is by making a generous donation. This is one of the disadvantages to holding degrees from multiple schools. They all have an alumni office which likes to remind you of opportunities to support your alma mater.

The days are coming, says Jeremiah, when God will fulfil His promises to Israel and Judah. The appeals in my email speak a great deal about promises and the promise of young people attending those schools. It is as if a righteous branch were being raised up. Upon reading them, it appears that with just a few more dollars the world might be saved, and we can all dwell securely. It is not just the universities which do this. Political rhetoric, worthy institutions, and scoundrels all try to move me to give or do something with such words.  But then we come to that last line, don’t we? The LORD is our righteousness. It is so easy for us to trust in something other than God. We seem to be hardwired to trust, to look to someone or thing to bring relief, security, and salvation. But our hearts and minds, broken by sin, are so easily distracted from the true source of security and salvation. The fundraisers know this about us and use this language to pry open our wallets. I speak cynically, I know. Perhaps I have read just had too many of these appeals. I am grateful that I can rest my weary frame in a pew and listen to Jeremiah speak of a righteous branch who will not disappoint me, an execution of justice and righteousness which will be what it says and not some falling short of what it promised. He speaks of Jesus, who once came and really did forgive my sins; who remains with me now and keeps me from falling completely into cynical despair; who comes again to right every wrong and execute a perfect justice. Amen, come Lord Jesus.

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