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.
Scattered and dispersed, God’s people suffered the consequences of their rebellion toward God. But the scattered and dispersed abound today too, for numerous reasons—whether by one’s own arrogance, apathy, or deliberate choice; or by being dislocated or marginalized by others; or some perhaps even by God. The last is not a notion we like to think of in our day, yet such was the case for Israel’s remnant. Still, the very same God issues forth glad tidings for all who are far off. Come home to me. Remember me. I want you back. Nothing done by you or to you is enough for me to ever forget you or abandon you. See what goodness and joy and abundance I have in mind for you. I myself will make the way and I will lead you. So just come home. God was, is, and always will be full of promise for all. Welcome home!
Saving God, we are especially grateful for your Son Jesus, given to lead us and restore us in relationship to you. Use us to share your liberating call for all to return to you. Amen.