Scott Sanders launches our Advent series by getting lost in the bush and finding the humble path - at expense of his pride.
Rachel Friebel works at Lutheran Community Care in Adelaide, where she is part of the Family and Relationship Services team.
Today's reading is Jeremiah 33:14-16
Every day at my community services workplace, our reception area buzzes with a mix of fear and hope. A father comes in to seek an emergency food package, his third for the year. He carries with him the fear that he won’t be able to pay both rent and electricity this month. Yet there is hope…for a service that can help get his family through the short term crisis and that his next job application will be successful. Every person carries this potent mix of fear and hope with them. A woman hopes that a financial counsellor can somehow help navigate the debt which has been accumulated in her name by an abusive ex-partner, whom she is still terrified of. A couple at breaking point hope that their relationship can be saved, both fearing that the person who was once their safe place has rejected them for good. Fear and hope. A bystander in this scene might only see fear or despair. In the midst of great fear, hope can be hard to spot. Yet hope is there: propelling people forward as they seek change and healing.
Today’s text from Jeremiah is part of a larger passage in which God promises his people restoration in the midst of their brokenness. God promises them (and us) that the Messiah, Jesus, will rule justly and that they will live in safety. I can’t help but wonder how the Israelite people were feeling when this prophecy was given. I wonder if some people were feeling scared: unsure if they would ever be able to give their children a safe home. Perhaps others were feeling frustrated, after years of struggle and striving, they weren’t seeing the results they longed for. There may have been some people feeling powerless and angry about injustices perpetrated by those in positions of power. In the midst of brokenness, fear, injustice and pain, God spoke hope. He does the same today.
There are a myriad of ways we see injustice in our world and in our communities. Equally, there are a myriad of ways that we can glimpse hope in situations which otherwise look dire. Hope is the force which spurs us on. Hope is the healing that people experience, in spite of their circumstances. Hope is the reason that fear, despair and frustration aren’t where the story ends. Hope doesn’t necessarily remove fear or pain. Rather, it transforms those experiences. Hope provides us with energy, strength and desire to walk with people on their quest for justice and safety.
Share this post?
The Righteous Branch and the Covenant with David
14 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 15 In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 16 In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness.”