Sermon for Friends Congregational Church
“The New Incentive: Our Fidelity to God and Neighbor”
Delivered by Rev. Dr. Dan De Leon
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Today I’m going to preach about adultery. Get excited! You can’t preach a sermon about adultery without a little rock n’ roll. So, I thought we’d start out the sermon this morning by singing the first couple of verses of a timeless rock tune by Derek and the Dominos. You might know it as an Eric Clapton tune.
“Layla” has to do loosely with adultery, or at least the temptation of adultery. The song was inspired by Eric Clapton’s love for another fellow musician’s wife; specifically George Harrison’s wife Pattie Boyd. But instead of acting on that love, Clapton turned his feelings inward and he came up with arguably one of the best rock songs ever written.
Now, how does talking about adultery have anything to do with today’s passage from Jeremiah about God writing a new covenant on our hearts? Well, for Jeremiah the new covenant doesn’t replace any of the past covenants God made with God’s people. For Jeremiah, the new covenant takes the essence of all of those previous covenants and writes it on our hearts. One of those past covenants was made at Mount Sinai after the people had been delivered from slavery into freedom, and that covenant included God’s law, what we call the Ten Commandments. Jeremiah 31:33 says: “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.” One of those Ten Commandments, of course, says, “Do not commit adultery;” hence a sermon on that topic.