Jeremiah 14:7-10, 19-22 (NRSV)
Verse 7Although our iniquities testify against us, act, O Lord, for your name's sake; our apostasies indeed are many, and we have sinned against you. Verse 8O hope of Israel, its savior in time of trouble, why should you be like a stranger in the land, like a traveler turning aside for the night? Verse 9Why should you be like someone confused, like a mighty warrior who cannot give help? Yet you, O Lord, are in the midst of us, and we are called by your name; do not forsake us!
Verse 10Thus says the Lord concerning this people: Truly they have loved to wander, they have not restrained their feet; therefore the Lord does not accept them, now he will remember their iniquity and punish their sins. Verse 19Have you completely rejected Judah? Does your heart loathe Zion? Why have you struck us down so that there is no healing for us? We look for peace, but find no good; for a time of healing, but there is terror instead. Verse 20We acknowledge our wickedness, O Lord, the iniquity of our ancestors, for we have sinned against you. Verse 21Do not spurn us, for your name's sake; do not dishonor your glorious throne; remember and do not break your covenant with us. Verse 22Can any idols of the nations bring rain? Or can the heavens give showers? Is it not you, O Lord our God? We set our hope on you, for it is you who do all this.
Our readings for this week will inspire thoughts of hope and thanksgiving.
Today, the prophet Jeremiah speaks to God on behalf of the people of Judah who are experiencing severe drought. Why? Is it something they have done that has caused this to happen? Judah has not been perfect, and Jeremiah admits this in his prayers on behalf of these people. Yet, for God to let them suffer because of their very human failings does not seem like the God who has promised to be with them and care for them.
Hence, in Jeremiah’s words there is lament, repentance, praise, and a commitment to do better. Regardless of the rough patches, the word “hope” suddenly appears: “We set our hope on you.” (v 22). And with that hope comes a great surge of thanksgiving for us today as well.
Faithful and loving Holy One, in our moments of grief and sorrow, let hope emerge, reminding us that we are people of thanksgiving who live by your grace and rejoice in your works. Amen.