Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28
By Rebekah Miles and Len Delony
This week’s reading from Jeremiah describes the people of Judah as they await imminent destruction by an invading army. The prophet’s vision of the near future is grim. The coming destruction seems to undo the very act of creation itself – making the earth “waste and void” and robbing the heavens of their light. “The whole land shall be a desolation.” “The earth mourns.”
The coming destruction signals God’s judgment on the sins of the people of Judah who are “skilled at doing evil.” Although some of us may find it hard to believe that God would will the destruction of a people, we can easily understand the feelings and realities in the face of destruction and desolation. We see our own lives and plans fall apart. We watch those we love most in the world suffer. We see images of people across our globe who grieve and die. Sometimes human sin seems to play a hand in bringing about the destruction and sometimes, as in the case of many natural disasters, it seems to be out of our hands altogether. Whatever the cause, when we hit those times of desolation and darkness, it is difficult to believe that the heavens still hold light.
It is tempting to advise desolate, grieving people to accentuate the positive and look for the silver lining in the clouds. But often we need simply to acknowledge the depth of the destruction and the total darkness of the clouds.
Holy One, we pray for those who today suffer and face desolation. May they and we feel the power of your grace. Amen.