Tuesday, August 31, 2010

judgment and trouble

Good morning friends,
It's another day in New Orleans after a good, hard day of work yesterday and wonderful devotions led by Rock and Jake. This morning's reading is hard. There's not much hope in this reading, so it can be easy to let it be discouraging. We read something like this and think about the devastation we see here in New Orleans and we wonder what God could be up to. I don't believe God sends hurricanes to punish us for our sins. At the same time, the hurricanes here shined light on our sin as a nation: sins of division and selfishness; sins of neglecting the poor and oppressed; sins of forgetting about our brothers and sisters. Israel faced some of the same sins and faced God's judgment for that. God loves all his creatures so when we selfishly treat people badly God weeps and sorrows for our heard hearts. Judgement is real even if it doesn't come through a hurricane; we are all accountable to God for how we use the amazing gift of our life and how we care for others.

And even though we don't see it in this passage, God is with us. God sends messengers like Jeremiah out of love and in Jesus God walks the darkest parts of human life. God is with us to challenge our selfishness and to call us back to true life. God is with us in our ministry and our daily routine. God is with us in other people: people offering us hope, people asking for our help, people showing us God's way. Let us trust God and seek to serve others in love, no matter what trouble we walk through.

God bless,

Jeremiah 16:1-14
The word of the Lord came to me: 2You shall not take a wife, nor shall you have sons or daughters in this place. 3For thus says the Lord concerning the sons and daughters who are born in this place, and concerning the mothers who bear them and the fathers who beget them in this land: 4They shall die of deadly diseases. They shall not be lamented, nor shall they be buried; they shall become like dung on the surface of the ground. They shall perish by the sword and by famine, and their dead bodies shall become food for the birds of the air and for the wild animals of the earth. 5For thus says the Lord: Do not enter the house of mourning, or go to lament, or bemoan them; for I have taken away my peace from this people, says the Lord, my steadfast love and mercy.

6Both great and small shall die in this land; they shall not be buried, and no one shall lament for them; there shall be no gashing, no shaving of the head for them. 7No one shall break bread for the mourner, to offer comfort for the dead; nor shall anyone give them the cup of consolation to drink for their fathers or their mothers. 8You shall not go into the house of feasting to sit with them, to eat and drink. 9For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: I am going to banish from this place, in your days and before your eyes, the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride.

10And when you tell this people all these words, and they say to you, “Why has the Lord pronounced all this great evil against us? What is our iniquity? What is the sin that we have committed against the Lord our God?” 11then you shall say to them: It is because your ancestors have forsaken me, says the Lord, and have gone after other gods and have served and worshiped them, and have forsaken me and have not kept my law; 12and because you have behaved worse than your ancestors, for here you are, every one of you, following your stubborn evil will, refusing to listen to me. 13Therefore I will hurl you out of this land into a land that neither you nor your ancestors have known, and there you shall serve other gods day and night, for I will show you no favor.

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