Daily Lectionary Readings for Year A
Imagine the deep faith in God that Jeremiah is demonstrating. The city is under siege. Enemy forces are about to overwhelm the guard and ransack the town. Houses, barns, and businesses are fated to be burned to the ground. The residents will be captured and forced into slavery in a faraway country. The outlook is pretty grim.
What does Jeremiah do? He buys some land. Jeremiah writes up a contract, gathers together witnesses, negotiates a price, and draws significant attention to his actions. Many would think he was crazy. He is pouring money down the drain buying what is now a worthless field that they will probably never see again for the rest of their lives. Some would think Jeremiah was foolish. God knew he was faithful. For, even when it appears that there is no hope, God is at work. Jeremiah is infusing in the minds and hearts of all who witness his foolish actions, a vision of hope. When God's people are in captivity, they will remember Jeremiah's unwavering belief that God would bring them home again. In their suffering, the people will hold onto the promise that God will help them overcome. Jeremiah bought a field when it seemed like the whole world was falling apart. And people began to believe that they would survive.
We are in a tight spot these days. There are projections of deaths in the hundreds of thousands. Loved ones are dying alone. Our communal structures are not just on hold, but perhaps permanently changed. We are staying away from one another because we love each other. But we love each other and long to see one another. The church building, which has been our gathering place for so long, is now empty. Jeremiah was confronting a siege. We are battling a pandemic.
Some might say that it is foolish to hold onto things like the church in times like this. But you have been faithful. Sara has told me that you have given to the church financially in ways that have brought grateful tears to her eyes. Marie says that you are joyful on the phone when she calls to check on you. Eric says the youth still want to keep meeting using technology to study and share. Jane Ellen says the children continue to shine with joy when they see Jesus in their front yard. Maybe these are the days that we sign the deed and purchase the field at Anathoth. The faith that we show now will be a sign of hope to any who are discouraged.
The people in Jeremiah's time discovered that God was not limited to Jerusalem. God was with them, even in Babylon. We are witnessing the church as more than any building can hold. The church exists in beamed internet images, kind phone calls, and where people are home and praying for their neighbors. The church is in the hearts of those who love God and love others. It is not foolish to buy a stake in that today. It is a faithful sign that God is at work among us every day and someday will call us back together again. May it be so.