The Inner Voice

Jeremiah 31:27-34

Jiminy Cricket acts as a conscience for Pinocchio — does the Holy Spirit do the same for us? Pinocchio was written over a hundred years ago as a morality tale. Children were to be read Pinocchio so that they would know not to rebel, disobey, or lie. Disney toned down the rascally nature of the puppet and added Jiminy Cricket to keep the story from being too sad. Many people today are living the original version of the story, which doesn’t end well for the puppet (in the Italian version he is hung). All of us need an inner voice to guide us. Don’t swat away that cricket.

    In Jeremiah 31, the prophet who has been weeping for God’s people because they are about to pay the price for their sin and go into exile, looks ahead to a better time. Long after the prophet is gone, God will forgive his people. They will be restored. They will return to Palestine and once again live as a free people. This will be the Old Testament’s second Exodus. The second time in which God will reclaim his people after a period of imprisonment. On this trip back, however, God himself will be their Moses. They won’t have to stop half-way through the wilderness to pick up the Ten Commandments, for God will set his law within each person. Jeremiah sees the Disney version, complete with Jiminy Cricket.

    What kind of an inner voice has God set within your heart? When have you looked for your conscience to guide you and found it out of order? There have been times when the conscience of a whole people has been wrong, such as when slavery was practiced in America. What would it mean for us to let our conscience guide us during the election in November?

    Now the deeper theological question, when Christians look back on this passage from Jeremiah 31, where we are told of a day when all will know the lord and be able to know the right thing to do simply by consulting their inner voice, we see it as a prophecy of the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit fell upon the first Christians and gave to them a moral compass (Acts 2). How is the Holy Spirit different from Jiminy Cricket?

When is your conscience wrong or hard to hear?
Proper 24