The words "Peddling Hope" came to my mind this morning as I continued to read through Jeremiah, he has always been my favorite prophet. I guess that is because I can identify with his moodiness and the authentic transparency with which he communicates.
Embedded in his candor is an identity with reality that I seem to share as well. At times, ecstasy and hope, then other times a despair with reality given so much of our quality of life seems to be impacted by human leadership, the latter so fickle. "Only the strong survive" is quite a grim philosophy for life.
Unlike the jaded purveyors of religion that either align with a wrathful God or a promising savior bountiful in mercy and grace, Jeremiah delves into both.
Since God, as reflected in Jesus only goes south in anger when religion over-shadows His love. I must believe that the waffling that is evident in Jeremiah's "gospel" is his own human struggle versus God speaking through the prophet's pen. That is the beauty of scripture, it captures our humanity and then by way of the Spirit, the Word enables us to know God, whereas the text alone is complex, if not confusing.
There are moments of undeniable providence in my life, divine intervention, overwhelming ecstasy and joy. Then there are moments where my prayers go unheeded, and my heart seems dark. I appreciate that the Word assures me that I am normal.
That's called being human and if it was so with the prophets, I must assume God will put up with me, will intermittently speak to me, and even miraculously use my life.
At 75, I know that to be true.
Sure there are moments of darkness and irreconcilable loss. Do I understand that? No more than you.
Do I fully get religion, of any stripe? Not even after 50 years!
That's how I reconcile Jeremiah's message that sings praise and lauds a new day, and few verses later, foretells abandonment and captivity...which we know became the reality for Isreal. In fact, that still is their reality, both an amazing preservation and extreme persecution, then as well, even being the persecutors in the eyes of many!
They seem to represent humanity, even while identifying as the people of God. We are all there, yet have access to the New Covenant which Jeremiah even speaks to. Has God changed, no way, are we quite fickle in our spirit, seems our reality?
Life is real, so is hope for a better day regardless of where you find yourself in the human journey.
Keep "Peddling Hope!"