Several Old Testament prophets warned the people that God would sooner or later punish them for their unfaithfulness. None was more adamant about that than Jeremiah. His prediction of misery ahead has led to his name being used of people who are cheerless. But in 586 BC, as he had foreseen, Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians and the people of Israel were taken off into exile.
But that was not the end of what Jeremiah had to say. Having warned of disaster, now that it had happened he offered a new message of hope. He saw that the day would come when the people of Israel would be forgiven and brought back to the promised land by the Lord. His message, delivered by Jeremiah, was this:
I will bring them back and make then dwell in safety.
I will give them one heart and one way (RSV: Jer 32 v 38)
The NIV translates that last sentence in this way:
I will give them singleness of heart and action.
The Guild motto reminds us that the faith we have in our hearts must be translated into action in our lives. How hard we sometimes find that, as did St Paul. In his letter to the Romans, he describes the struggle between his good intentions and his failure to live up to them. He asked: ‘Who will deliver me?’ His answer: ‘Jesus Christ’. How? If we accept him into our lives, he will equip us to truly be of one heart and one way. The Guild motto encapsulates what the Lord does for those who accept the Gospel.
Revd Peter Dawson OBE