Jeremiah 31:7-14 (NRSV)
Verse 7For thus says the Lord: Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob, and raise shouts for the chief of the nations; proclaim, give praise, and say, "Save, O Lord, your people, the remnant of Israel." Verse 8See, I am going to bring them from the land of the north, and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth, among them the blind and the lame, those with child and those in labor, together; a great company, they shall return here. Verse 9With weeping they shall come, and with consolations I will lead them back, I will let them walk by brooks of water, in a straight path in which they shall not stumble; for I have become a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.
Verse 10Hear the word of the Lord, O nations, and declare it in the coastlands far away; say, "He who scattered Israel will gather him, and will keep him as a shepherd a flock." Verse 11For the Lord has ransomed Jacob, and has redeemed him from hands too strong for him. Verse 12They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion, and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the Lord, over the grain, the wine, and the oil, and over the young of the flock and the herd; their life shall become like a watered garden, and they shall never languish again. Verse 13Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy, I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow. Verse 14I will give the priests their fill of fatness, and my people shall be satisfied with my bounty, says the Lord.
God’s word is meant to be proclaimed. This passage from Jeremiah makes me want to break forth in Canticle 14 from the Lutheran Book of Worship (LBW): “Listen, you nations of the world, listen to the word of the Lord. Announce it from coast to coast, declare it to distant Islands” Jeremiah and the writer of the canticle both invite us to hear a word of hope. What has gone wrong in the past, the punishment people have paid for their sins, will be wiped out.
God will restore the people and will bring them home to enjoy peace and a feast. God promises to turn their mourning into joy. God’s word is one of comfort and gladness and satisfaction. In this season of commercials that traditionally promise our loved ones will come home and we will share a pot of coffee, God promises we will all come home and share in God’s bounty.
Canticle Text © 1972 CONTEMPORARY WORSHIP 5: Services of the Word, admin. Augsburg Fortress.
Dear God of promises, may we hear your words of peace and joy. Make us your messengers of hope to the world, through your son, our savior Jesus Christ. Amen.