From the Preacherman….
We all like good news. Whether the speaker is a mechanic, a home inspector or your doctor, we all hope that the news is positive, the cost won’t be too high, the surgery can be avoided. We all hope for that. I do. The truth, however, can be much more difficult to hear. What happens when the news you hear is not good news, but the truth?
Jeremiah struggled as a prophet, wrestled to speak the truth as God wanted him to speak it, because the words he had to say were hard to hear. Israel, stuck in exile in Babylon, far from home, wanted some good news. Instead, they got this from Jeremiah 29:
5 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 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. 7 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.
Jeremiah tells the ancient exiles that they are not going home any time soon. Their current situation is not going to change quickly. So he tells them, in effect, bloom where you are planted. Plan to raise families where you are right now. It will be a waste of time and energy to try anything else. If you can’t change it, then you have to stand it.
As ancient Israel had to learn to endure exile, so shall we. We are exiled from routine because of pandemic. We are cut off from the familiar. We are separated from normalcy. Well, so be it. We can live here, not like we used to live, but with some familiarity and some success. We worshiped together outside of church last Sunday evening. It wasn’t perfect, but good enough to try again on 9/27. We will start having some people back in morning worship at church this Sunday (9/20: check with the church office for details). It won’t be perfect, but it will be good.
We have other committees planning and working to carry out ministry in these trying times. They have one guiding principle: Don’t be afraid to fail. Try something new. Be careful and smart, but try. See what might work, and what won’t, as we live into this new, unknown future. God is still God in these perilous times. We wait, but not passively, for God to act. We wait in hope, active and faithful, unafraid to fail, leaning forward into the future which belongs to God.