The Fourteenth Sunday After Pentecost

At that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem: A hot wind comes from me out of the bare heights in the desert toward my poor people, not to winnow or cleanse—a wind too strong for that. Now it is I who speak in judgment against them. — Jeremiah the prophet

All the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to Jesus. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.” — The Gospel of Luke

There is a common trope one hears among Christians from time to time that goes something like this—“The God of the Old Testament is full of judgment and the Jesus of the New Testament is full of grace.” It may not be worded exactly like this, but something that communicates the same idea. The two texts above could be seen as support of such statements: Jeremiah preached judgment of sinful Jerusalem while Jesus preached gracious welcome to sinners.

This Sunday I would like to engage with such a reading of sacred scripture. While I understand the sentiment and where it comes from, it is not helpful or good to set the Old Testament against the New Testament in such a way. How are we Christians to think about these matters? What has God’s judgment of sin have to do with God’s hospitality to sinners? And perhaps even more importantly, what is an angry God for anyway? Can we do away with such things now that Jesus has come?

I look forward to our time together on Sunday… see you then!




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