Replacing Bars of Wood With Iron

Replacing Bars of Wood With Iron

Jeremiah 28

Remember when the whole country was going to be safe and everything was going to be reopened by Easter? Remember when it was common to discredit Black Lives Matter because it is black-led and popular among youths? Remember when we wanted everything just to be normal? Well, people are somehow still talking like this.

The United States seems to have a serious malfunction in our cultural and rhetorical mechanisms for recognizing crisis. Migration from the south is seen as a disaster. Press that contradicts the president is said to be sedition. Increased voter turnout and citizens exercising their right to assemble are apparently abhorrent. Yet, a global pandemic and the cracks it exposes in our healthcare system are no big deal; regular patterns of police abuse against people of color are a hoax; ecological degradation and eventual extinction are externalities. Our nation is pouring immense sums of money and energy into battling issues that aren’t problems (or are simply the result of the state functioning normally–like migration or assembly), while we are actively ignoring–or even suppressing potential solutions to–real, existential threats. Then, we often introduce God to justify all of this. “I’m just protecting my heritage.” “I’m just following the Christian religion.” “God will take care of us.” “Jerusalem will not fall.”

Judah had this problem, too. In the book of Jeremiah, we see a three chapter sequence in which Jeremiah, regarded by the political elites as an outsider and a crazy prophet of doom, debates hopeful, privileged adversaries. Jeremiah brings the word of God to bear in actual recognition of the material realities that Judeans are facing and the very real threat of Babylonian occupation. Hananiah, one of his opponents, disagrees and says everything will be okay–everything will go back to normal. God has something to say about this. Join us on Sunday for a discussion on Jeremiah’s yoke.

Rev. Wesley Snedeker


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