Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas 2c - Jeremiah 31:7-14

In Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy and Fairytale the American theologian, Frederick Buechner, writes “the Gospel is bad news before it is good news.” That is certainly true for Jeremiah whose long career as a prophet is characterized by weeping. From the beginning his was the kind of ministry that no one appreciates because he was a truth teller to those who fabricated and lived by lies. But his was the voice that could not be silenced though like the Truth that would one day come Jeremiah was despised and rejected, a man of sorrows and familiar with grief. In the end he will die in exile and the last words of his book will describe the burning and looting of the temple in Jerusalem. But despite the overwhelming bad news for Judah and the suffering that will ensue as the consequence of unfaithfulness God speaks a greater truth through the tears of the weeping prophet. On the other side of mourning is joy; on the other side of sorrow is gladness. The young will dance and the old shall be merry for the Lord who scattered them will bring them back to life like a well watered garden. But this greater truth can only be experienced if one accepts the lesser truth, the first truth about ourselves. That we like Judah prefer an easy word to a hard one and have perfected the art of living illusionary lives believing secret sins can be confessed without being acknowledged. In the end captivity will come if it hasn’t already. But that is the good news for only from captivity do we listen to the greater truth. That in His weeping the Truth dried our tears for His pain purchased our joy, His death our life. And knowing that theTruth has set us free makes it much harder to go back to living a lie. And that is good news indeed.

1 comment:

  1. "for only from captivity do we listen to the greater truth." I like that. Yet, God never stopped looking for them. Earlier in Jer 31, in Peterson's message: "They found grace out in the desert, these people who survived the killing. Israel out looking for a place to rest, met God out looking for them!" God told them, "I've never quit loving you and never will..."