Spirit-filled People celebrate Jeremiah's vision

Posted by Fr. Tere on 08/28/2016

Jeremiah 2:4-13 

Do you ever wonder if 24 hours-a-day news is a real benefit of living in the 21st Century, or a curse? We know tidbits about so many things (whatever slanted news organizations feels is important for us to know), but most of the coverage is, like the Missouri River, often a mile wide and an inch deep. We know little about lots and lots about nearly nothing – unless it is deemed “important” and then it is all the time everywhere – and we hear the same thing over and over and over. And still know very little, and much of that proves to be inaccurate. I know this sounds cynical and depressive, but it is just the facts on the ground. Or, and Jack Friday always said, “Just the facts, ma’am. Just the facts.”

I feel at times I know more about Bruce (now called Caitlyn) Jenner, than I do about what’s happening with the Church in Iraq – and I try hard to ignore the one and follow closely the other. But the one pops up all over the place – headlines say the regrets the transition and with “de-transition” (we have to make up words to make any sense of all this nonsense!); they say he is a Republican and the ridicule over this; they say he will always be haunted by not telling his family about his gender identity. Do you care about this? Except, maybe, as a point of reference in the destruction of the American family and especially the American male/father.

And 24/7 we hear which Republican has decided to get his/her name in the news by claiming he/she will not vote for Trump. Or we hear how much Hillary lied/lies and “this” bit of email or whatever will sink her campaign. But it goes on and nothing happens.

That seems to be where God found himself in the reading from Jeremiah today. 24/7 he has been listening for his people, his priests, to ask, ‘Where is the Lord?’ but all they heard was the constant clatter of a people who had decided they did not need God and did not need to talk with him. They went their own ways, with their own plans, and refused to accept the incredible gifts that God has for them.

He said they committed two evils: first they refused to accept the fountain of living waters that he wants desperately to give them. Jesus is the water of life, the living waters flow from him, and they could have accepted those waters and been cleansed and they would know how to live, and to live abundantly.

Not only did they refuse the gift of living water, they built cisterns to catch the water needed for life. They were so corrupt, however, they couldn’t even do that correctly – because of our radical fallenness every cistern we build on our own is broken, it cannot hold water. We are desperate for water and it runs right through our cisterns. Yet it is freely offered by God in never-ending quantities.

We hear the noise of the world and miss the real news of what God is doing in the world. Iraq is a case in point. The news (in tidbits – selected tidbits) from Iraq is incredible in its hope and in its horror. There is a massive crystal-meth epidemic there. IS continues to bomb and kill Iraqi citizens. Illegal executions are happening by the government. Shi’ite militias are detaining, torturing, and abusing Sunni civilians. WMDs are still being discovered from Saddam’s era of creating such weapons. Women are being sold into sexual slavery. And we hear nearly nothing that doesn’t fit the talking-points of the day.

In the midst of news from everywhere, we hear little, and react to even less. And Iraq is one small point in a very large world.

The “world” is so noisy trying to justify itself, try to build its own cisterns, as it were, that it isn’t listening or even noticing it cannot hear God. It is setting up its own idols and setting all its hopes on them – refusing to see the cracks and flaws and water leaking everywhere. There is so much clatter – so many “laws” are being set up that no one can follow – rules about what words you can or cannot use, what actions you can or cannot take, what thoughts you can or cannot express (or even think, maybe). And those rules can change from day to day, person to person, situation to situation, group to group. There is no way to win. There is no place for those who think, act, feel differently, or join groups that are different from the norm.

But we do not despair. Jesus rules in Iraq. In the midst of the chaos Jesus is acting to save Christians, Yazidis, Kurds, and Muslims – physically and eternally. In the refugee camps the name of Jesus is resounding in healings and salvation. Because Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever, says the writer to the Hebrews. He promises never to leave us or forsake us, and he is showing this all the time, both here and in Iraq (or millions of other places around the world). He calls us to help – to let brotherly love continue – to show hospitality to those in prison as though in prison with them; to remember those who are mistreated because you are one with them. The difficulty created by our scientific, westernized minds is that we have trouble knowing we can be one with someone 6,000 miles away, that we are created to hurt, because they hurt, to weep, because they weep, to be in prison, because they are in in prison, or being mistreated or abused or living in a war zone. We are one with those who Jesus is calling into his kingdom, and we are called to act like it.

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