How often during this never-ending season of waiting for the pandemic to be declared behind us have I used the excuse, “I’ll deal with [whatever I’m avoiding] when this is over!”? I’m almost nostalgic about the days when we still imagined that the disruption of life was truly only temporary, perhaps a week or two. But it isn’t over. And, after reading the latest public health updates, this doesn’t even seem like something within reach, now or ever.
Yesterday’s Advent reading from the prophet Jeremiah is targeted to an audience with whom we shouldn’t struggle to identify. These people have had their lives interrupted and have been wanting assurance that this is not a permanent predicament. In Jeremiah’s case, God’s people had been exiled from their homes and, understandably, don’t want to invest their energy into anything that doesn’t result returning home again. But the powers that keep them in exile are much bigger and returning home is not going to happen anytime soon.
What other phases of your life have found you bracing for the long haul and living with new realities? Like God’s people in Babylon, were you able to see God still at work, even amid the trials of the day? How might this current interruption for our lives be experienced rather as an opportunity to continue in our journey of faith?
In Jeremiah’s time, God encouraged those living in exile by suggesting their work as God’s faithful people continues and is not interruptible. The “plan” that God has for us doesn’t change with the circumstances beyond our control. Instead, we’re called to what action we’re still capable of. And it’s in our response to this invitation to participate, regardless of our relative captivity, that we’ll see more clearly how God’s light continues to shine for us.
May God’s peace come to you this day. -Pastor Peter
Let us pray…
Gracious God, stay with us in our exile. Shine your light and lead the way into action for the sake of your world. Remind us how the plans you have for us cannot be interrupted and that your mission to love this world remains. Amen.