Jeremiah 8: 18-12-9:1
1 Timothy 2: 1-7
Luke 16: 1–13
We are reading passages from the prophet Jeremiah these days. Last Sunday, Lucretia read to us from chapter 18, where God says to Jerusalem, “The whole land will be ruined,
though I will not destroy it completely.
Therefore the earth will mourn
and the heavens above grow dark,
because I have spoken and will not relent,
I have decided and will not turn back.
God was ready to punish His people for their long-term wickedness and idol-worship.
This week, we find Jeremiah and Jerusalem weeping over the horrors of destruction and captivity and exile that loom over them (8:22):
For the hurt of my poor people I am hurt,
I mourn, and dismay has taken hold of me.
Also this week, we will contemplate Psalm 79, where the psalmist calls on God to hurt and destroy Jerusalem’s enemies (79:6)
Pour out Your anger on the nations that do not know You,
and on the kingdoms that do not call on Your name.
Notice that the psalmist was not threatening personal vengeance, but instead asking God to deal with the enemies.
This past Sunday, at least partly in recognition of the eighteenth anniversary of the terrorist hijacking attacks on New York, the Capital area, and Flight 93, our choir sang ‘This Is My Song.’ The first two verses that we sang were written by Hawaiian schoolteacher Lloyd Stone as a plea for international understanding following the First World War. Later, between 1937 and 1939, theologian Georgia Harkness wrote two more verses to go with Lloyd Stone’s poem:
May truth and freedom come to every nation;
may peace abound where strife has raged so long;
that each may seek to love and build together,
a world united, righting every wrong;
a world united in its love for freedom,
proclaiming peace together in one song.
This is my prayer, O Lord of all earth's kingdoms:
Thy kingdom come; on earth Thy will be done.
Let Christ be lifted up till all shall serve him,
and hearts united learn to live as one.
O hear my prayer, Thou God of all the nations;
myself I give Thee, let Thy will be done.
On Sunday, we sang the latter of those two verses.
When they were writing the poem, Stone and Harkness did not know that the vast violence that we in hindsight call “World War II” lay ahead. But they wrote in hope, praying for God’s guidance to a better way and more: they were seeking the kingdom of God.
In one of the StillSpeaking Daily Devotionals this past week, Rev. Donna Schaper published the piece linked below. I want more time to consider her ideas before I can adopt them or let them go, but I believe they are so thought-provoking, I want to share them with you now.