Not sure what happened, but somewhere along the way, my numbering got off. No matter, but the Myers-Briggs “J” in me is slightly annoyed by it. Anyway…
Two passages from Jeremiah-14:19-22 and 29:1-14. What spoke to me in these was a contrast of how to view and respond to the “place” we find ourselves. The first is a lament of where they are at. While acknowledging their culpability, there is also a crying out to God for hope and to see tangible signs that God is still with them.
Then one of the most quoted passages in the Bible – a promise from God of abiding presence and care. But that isn’t the whole of the passage – there is also the call to truly live in the place you find yourself- that even though life may not be as you desire it, there is freedom in choosing to dwell in that place – to (literally or metaphorically) build homes, grow families, etc – to truly live there. In that there is hope and freedom.
I was on a long walk with my dog yesterday and was struck by the contrast of the fallen leaves trapped under the ice that had started to form right along with areas of unfrozen, open water. Both were beautiful but it was only the latter that showed movement and reflected the world around. To me, the open area is Jeremiah 29 – something that reflects and moves with life. And while there is most definitely a place of faithful lament in our relationship with God, I think that the call here is to add to that lament a willingness to live in that space with everything that means. And as we move towards the Jeremiah 29 way of viewing the world…then we shall see the plan for a future and a hope. .
Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.