America is in deep grief. We are seeing great economic and racial inequality and a staggering death rate from a pandemic denied by many of our leaders. During this time of mass public protest and outcry, I am reminded of the prophet Jeremiah.
Like other prophets, Jeremiah gave witness to the pending downfall of his great country. The kingdom of Judah ignored God’s laws concerning the poor and the vulnerable. There was great economic inequality as the temple elite became wealthy at the expense of the peasants. They worshiped false gods. Judah’s leaders believed they would be protected by God from the consequences of their sins.
Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, predicted a dark time when social gatherings would be eliminated. There would be no more weddings or community celebrations. There would be no more public worship. There would be so much death that there would be no funerals or public mourning. In the end, Jeremiah’s legacy is about hope and perseverance in dark times. Even as his country marched toward its Babylonian defeat, he spoke of God’s continuing presence and the promise of reconciliation and restoration.
Hope is a task for today’s prophets. Our God’s love and promises will not allow us to sit in despair without hope. Jeremiah was reminded in 33:10-11 that restoration will come: “…there will be heard once more the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of the bride and bridegroom, and the voices of those who bring thank offerings to the house of the Lord.”
Our communities will dance again. Our God is lord of the dance – the dance of health and healing, the dance of social justice, and the dance of joy.
Colorado Springs Faith Leaders Table