Pastoral Council: Thoughts for Reflection
September 21, 2014
Every now and then, when reading scripture, something catches one off guard. Herein, it is not so much what was said (for God’s promises and encouragement are abundant throughout the Bible), but rather where and when it was said:
In 596 BC, the Jews were living their worst nightmare: defeat by the Chaldeans, exile from Jerusalem, and captivity by their enemies in the city of Babylon. To the Jews, this must have seemed a complete reversal of God’s promise to defend Israel. In the midst of their suffering, God tells Jeremiah to write a letter to the captives in Babylon, saying this:
Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all who were carried away captive, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon:
“Build houses and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat their fruit. Take wives and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, so that they may bear sons and daughters—that you may be increased there, and not diminished. And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace (Jeremiah 29:5-7).
Does this not speak to us today? Dark forces in the world loom – we find ourselves living in a strange moral landscape – even threatening to knock down the doors of the church. But God asks us to embrace this moment, to submit to Him, to continue to live life in God’s plan by building, planting, marrying and, above all, by raising and nurturing families. In spite of all that seems doubtful, we are to exemplify Christ’s peace in the world (Matt.5:14), for in this we will find peace.
How can we not love the command, “Be still and know that I am God” (Ps.46:10). It silences all human thought and fear, leaving only room for the divine.
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