In October of 1929, the American covenant collapsed. The stock market crashed precipitously, erasing millions of dollars of wealth. The Great Depression was on. The actions of some of the people, created a prosperity that was tenuous. Greed became the driving force of the economy, and it seemed everyone wanted to cash in. People strayed from what the American covenant was supposed to be, broke that covenant, and watched as the economy they created collapsed like a house of straw. Businesses collapsed and factories closed. Unemployment was rampant. There seemed to be absolutely no hope. Then came the presidential election of 1932 and the promise of a new deal, a new covenant, designed to end the economic distress that plagued not just this country, but the world. I have no intention here of arguing the politics, history, or economics of the New Deal. It was at that time obvious the old covenant had failed and it was time to change, time to re-craft the American Dream, to form a new American covenant. The people of Israel had drifted from their covenant with God. God knew that it was time for a new covenant, a covenant meant to change the people of Israel, a covenant meant to bring them back to knowledge of God, a covenant meant to re-commit them to God, to make them God’s people. This covenant would stand forever, a covenant forged in suffering, death, and resurrection. The covenant made possible by the coming of the Christ and Christ’s commitment to give everything for the people of God. Through the suffering endured by Christ, we live. The covenant forged in Christ’s blood, the covenant ratified by the empty tomb, is the covenant given to us. We become the people of God through this covenant. When we embrace what was done for us we reach for the life that is ours because of Christ’s death and resurrection. The people of America, our parents, grandparents, great-grandparents were offered a new deal, a new deal they seized, a new deal that offered a new life. Now is the time for us to seize again that new deal offered us by God, the new covenant in Christ, the new covenant that gives us new life, life that never ends.
Fifth Sunday in Lent
March 29, 2009