Today Jeremiah paints a dramatic picture of the upcoming exile. It is despair that eclipses even news of Russian/campaign ties, London attacks, or the healthcare debacles of our day. To Jeremiah that would be small potatoes.
He speaks to a people whose very homeland is in the balance. Jeremiah is blunt and to the point, even calling the people “stupid” twice. He understands this is not just a time of affliction, but an age where self-centeredness leaves no room for repentance.
HE MUST BE ALIVE AND PREACHING IN 2017!!! The arrogance and self-centeredness with which I see our politicians leading is beyond belief. Oh how I wish Jeremiah would come and stand in front of our Congress today and speak with the same power and authority. Oh how I wish the ears of our leaders would be opened.
From out of the doom and gloom, his call is to action. As Zion laments over the loss of her children, Jeremiah speaks of this time period as one of lamenting over the wound itself, calling the people a lair of jackals, and demanding that they acknowledge God’s all-encompassing power, who made the heavens and the earth, and pointing to God’s infinite wisdom.
In the face of sure despair, he still turns to God in trust. We have something to learn from him. Ultimately this whole grand shenanigan surrounding healthcare seems a rouse. There is no hope of passing the Senate. So why all the hub-bub? I suppose we have to fill the news outlets with some story of drama.
I wonder what would happen if all the cameras would disappear, and the media would only report on healthcare when something actually changed. I suspect things would actually get done much faster. We are a people who crave attention.
Instead of looking to the next poll, or how many Twitter likes he has, Jeremiah descends into prayer, asking, “Correct me, O Lord, but in just measure; not in your anger, or you will bring me to nothing. Pour out your wrath on the nations that do not know you, and on all the people that do not call on your name.”
In the midst of utter desolation, Jeremiah clings to hope. It is not hope in the people, but in appeal to God’s mercy. If you know the story, you know that despite the broken covenant, God does not destroy the people, but simply sends them into exile.
Jeremiah understands the true exile would be to not know God. He understands that the current physical afflictions are minor hiccups, but that they are also birth pangs.
We as the Church need to take our cues from Jeremiah. We are in exile – wrapped up in ourselves, our egos and needs. And we need to snap out of it and realize God is the captain of this ship, not us.
In whom did we put our trust? I think I forgot.
The focus has become on ourselves. We have tried to convince ourselves that the church must be fought for, when in reality, the Church needs to be discovered. We try harder, only to realize that God was in control all along.
We can rest in the words of Jeremiah today, knowing that once we were in exile, but now we have been found – found in a way that is beyond our comprehension. God found us in our baptism, and as we died in those waters, God took us as his own and fulfilled the words of John’s Gospel for today, “Where I am going, you cannot come.”
Indeed that is true. So God came to us instead. And he pointed the way. Are we listening?