Friday, December 4, 2015

Sixth Day of Advent: Jeremiah's Agony

We cannot simply hope for new things to happen without first facing honestly our own complicity in preventing those new things from happening.  None of us want to face our failures or our resistance to what can or might be.  Who wants to be a blockage to God’s intent?  Thus, our tendency is to see ourselves as somehow always on the right side of things.  So did Israel of old!  But Jeremiah would have none of it.  

Agonizing over his people’s situation, Jeremiah anticipated modern depth psychology when he pointed out that many of the problems of society lay within—in our hearts.  This “heart” can cover up and justify (rationalize) its real motives. 
“The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately corrupt;
who can understand it? (Jer. 17:9)”

How well we cover up!  Jeremiah suggested this issue of the heart had to be addressed before there could be any hope for something new.  God has“to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow (Jer. 1:10)” before God’s intent  “to build and to plant” can occur.  New things can happen only when we consciously and deliberately deal with ourselves—our opinions, our way of dealing with others, our stubbornness,  our attitudes, and our prejudices.  We block the new by clinging to our treasured and selfish ways. 
“Your ways and your doings
have brought this upon you.
This is your doom, and it is bitter;
it has reached your very heart (Jer. 4:18).”

There is much unfinished work that is ours to fix.
The New York Daily News headline of yesterday, “God Isn’t Fixing This,” is apropos.  It takes more than a prayer or two to deal with this shattered world.  We have to do everything we can to get “with it” ourselves before God is going to fix anything and even then God will require us to join in the fixing!  In Advent and at all times, God calls us to be accountable and responsible.

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