Jeremiah’s “Amen!” should be read as an “Oh really?” because the weeping prophet knows none of the exiles are coming home and the things that were taken are gone for good. Hananiah may have had his reasons to hope or he may have just been blowing smoke but it doesn’t matter because in a year he’ll be dead and peace will still be a pipe dream for the people weighed down by the iron yoke of Babylon. When Jeremiah prophesies political events he is really speaking to the hearts and minds of individuals, calling them to turn back to the Lord, to forsake false hopes and not to trust in temporal power to save. Jeremiah is a truth teller and sometimes the most difficult thing to be told is the truth.
Once again, and frankly for too many times in the past, we have been confronted with the truth that the sin of racism infects our country and indeed our planet. Truth is I need to be reminded that I was born with the privilege afforded to me by the color of my skin and the level of education of my parents. But since my grandfather, William Heinze, valued hard work above all else he lived into what Dr. King preached on the National Mall and judged people by the content of their character not the color of their skin. That was passed down to my father Rudy which is why we marched in Oak Park in the 1960's when black people who wanted to buy a house in Oak Park were not even shown the properties and if they managed to put a bid in it was never accepted.
"Many black families wishing to give their children a better education wanted a chance to move into the village, but because housing was not “open”, many families could not even get into a house to see it. Some blacks were helped by white residents who looked at houses for them and reported back to them, even sketching pictures of the inside of the house." (Oak Park Museum)
"The fight for a fair housing ordinance heated up, pitting many villagers against each other. In April 1968 a petition of 10,000 signatures called for a referendum on fair housing. Following the passage of a national fair housing ordinance and after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Village of Oak Park , with the support of the real estate community, passed the Fair Housing Ordinance on May 6, 1968, by a 5-2 vote of village trustees." (Oak Park Museum)
With the truth comes the opportunity to be renewed and reformed and restored. “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 God promises to be found by the exiles who seek the Lord, even while living under the iron yoke of Babylon. And so it is with us when we live beyond our limited vision and live into the vision of God where all people have a home on the Holy Mountain and a seat at the banquet feast. (Isaiah 25)