Reading: Jeremiah 14:7-10, 19-22
Although our iniquities testify against us,
act, O Lord, for your name’s sake;
our apostasies indeed are many,
and we have sinned against you.
O hope of Israel,
its savior in time of trouble,
why should you be like a stranger in the land,
like a traveler turning aside for the night?
Why should you be like someone confused,
like a mighty warrior who cannot give help?
Yet you, O Lord, are in the midst of us,
and we are called by your name;
do not forsake us!
Thus says the Lord concerning this people:
Truly they have loved to wander,
they have not restrained their feet;
therefore the Lord does not accept them,
now he will remember their iniquity
and punish their sins.
Have you completely rejected Judah?
Does your heart loathe Zion?
Why have you struck us down
so that there is no healing for us?
We look for peace, but find no good;
for a time of healing, but there is terror instead.
We acknowledge our wickedness, O Lord,
the iniquity of our ancestors,
for we have sinned against you.
Do not spurn us, for your name’s sake;
do not dishonor your glorious throne;
remember and do not break your covenant with us.
Can any idols of the nations bring rain?
Or can the heavens give showers?
Is it not you, O Lord our God?
We set our hope on you,
for it is you who do all this.
Today’s reading is a dialogue between God and Israel. The Israelites cry out to God. They know their sins are many but still they plead with God to help them. God, they claim, is like a wanderer who has gone far afield. They call God back to them.
Then God tells Israel that God is not the wanderer: Israel is the wanderer. God has been with them all along; it is they who have wandered from God. God then tells Israel they will suffer for their wandering.
But Israel continues in her pleading. The God of the covenant, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is a faithful God, a forgiving God. No matter how far we may wander, our God will not forsake us.
Somedays it feels like God has wandered away from us. Somedays it seems that we have wandered away from God. Cling to the good news: God is in our midst; God stays true to God’s promises; no matter what we may do, no matter where we may go, no matter what may befall us, our God will shower us with grace, mercy, love, and salvation.
God we wander far from you and then wonder why you left us. But truly you never leave us, you are always in our midst. Remind us of your compassion; fasten us to your heart that we may never be apart.