August 13: sacred bond

This is one of my favorite photos, taken more than twenty years ago. Today is the birthday of our oldest daughter. Although she lives too far from us to be with us today, coincidentally, I spent last night in a hotel just three blocks from the hospital in which she was born. She was born early on a Monday morning. It was a moment I will never forget. The moment I saw her for the first time I did not want her to be out of my sight. When the nurse took her from the room to clean her, I went along. I would not let her out of my sight. Today we live 1200 mile apart, but it is as if we are every bit as connected today as we were in that hospital room 28 years ago. Today it is an unseen bond formed all those years ago.

In Jeremiah 13, Jeremiah is told to buy a linen belt and put it around his waist. The belt represents a bond, a sacred bond that connects Judah and Israel to God. Jeremiah is shown that what happens to the bond is similar to what happens to a linen belt when it is not cared for properly. It is easy to forget the importance of the bond and how bound together we are with God. God chose us. God chose me.

In a wedding ceremony, I always instruct the couple to guard their relationship as their most precious possession. The rings that they exchange symbolize the relationship and their commitment to it, but the unseen bond is of far greater value than the rings themselves.

How am I caring for the relationship? Jeremiah is instructed to bury the linen belt and return later to dig it up. Such is the nature of a relationship when it is mistreated, ignored or taken for granted. My thoughts, today, are on the relationship between a father and his daughter.

And the sacred bond that exists between God and me. How am I caring for the bond between us? John 15:8 got my attention. “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” All day today, I want to honor the relationship – “to my Father’s glory.”

Today’s readings: Jeremiah 13-15; John 15

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