Thoughts on Jeremiah after hearing Propers 23 and 24, Year C

middle-eastern-gentiles-razing-jerusalemThe prophet Jeremiah isn’t generally associated with being particularly upbeat or cheerful. The prophetic book that bears his name is dominated by his predictions of doom and destruction for Israel and her king, and the other Biblical book associated with him—Lamentations—though not actually by him, is a series of poetic laments over that destruction after it’s happened. It’s surely not an accident that Jeremiah’s name has entered the English language in the word “jeremiad”—which the Oxford Dictionary defines as “a very long sad complaint or list of complaints.”

Yet the readings from Jeremiah that we had last Sunday and this are actually rather hopeful and encouraging in tone, even though they date from a time when all Jeremiah’s gloomy prophecies have come to pass. Jerusalem has fallen to the armies of Nebuchadrezzar, Israel is now in thrall to the pagan empire of Babylon, and many of her citizens have been forcibly deported to Babylon. Continue reading “Thoughts on Jeremiah after hearing Propers 23 and 24, Year C”