The Law, Mercy, and Freedom

…Standing by the column, the king made a covenant before the LORD
that they would follow him
and observe his ordinances, statutes and decrees
with their whole hearts and souls,
thus reviving the terms of the covenant
which were written in this book.
And all the people stood as participants in the covenant.
-2 Kings 23:3

Today’s first reading tells a beautiful and moving story: The LORD’s chosen people, Judah, find the Word that had been lost. Not just any word, but the book of the law. The conditions of God’s covenant with His children.

The high priests dust it off and wade, unknowing, into its contents. What the read grips their heart like nothing they’ve heard before. The Word has sought them out, coming to them, falling into their lap like so much serendipity, though we know it was the work of the Spirit that brought His people to His Word.

I am reminded of all of the scenes in Tolkien-esque fantasy where a beaten-down group of upstarts against insurmountable odds find their ancient weapon/artifact/ally, and its very presences renews their spirit and faith. Something about this new discovery speaks to their heritage, their patrimony, their identity, reviving their hearts and minds to a powerful and terrific purpose. (Or for a less nerdy version, maybe take the famous “Band of Brothers” speech from Shakespeare’s Henry V)

If we can imagine such an inspiring moment in fictional battles, how much more might God’s own sons and daughters have been invigorated by the living Word!

Yet the moment in today’s story from 2 Kings that most impacted me was the section quoted above. The king swore a renewed commitment to their long-lost covenant, and by the mercy of an all-powerful God, this was not just a symbolic or nostalgic gesture! What does it say instead?

“they would follow him
and observe his ordinances, statutes and decrees
with their whole hearts and souls,
thus reviving the terms of the covenant

The LORD’s covenant was always valid! His mercy was waiting for them! This the heart of the Good Father running out to meet their prodigal son, 600 years before the parable was even told!

As Erin mentioned on Monday, the treasures in heaven only grow brighter the closer we come to our Father. The LORD has good gifts for us; today’s readings tell us how His law leads us to freedom.

Return to the LORD! He longs for communion with you, His daughter. He longs for communion with you, His son. He wants to talk to you, tell you he loves you, and give you the strength to do what most fulfills your purpose.

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