Saturday, October 08, 2022

Pentecost 18C

Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7

1 These are the words of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the remaining elders among the exiles and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.

4 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon:

5 "Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare."
Jeremiah 29 Build Houses Seek the Well-being
Covid-induced Exile

The entire bible witnesses to God's way of being and living together, but (maybe particularly) the books of Deuteronomy, Jeremiah, and Luke emphasize what we've referred to as "neighborology," or the word about the neighbor.

Covid Is Not Over, but there are many signs (1) Covid probably will stay with us for longer than the foreseeable future; and (2) now that many social and other restrictions have been modified or lifted, it's time to imagine, explore, and try on for size necessarily different and updated … everything.

Aspects of our current situation aren't very different from the dislocation God's people felt when Jeremiah wrote to them. They'd literally been picked up and relocated from their promised homeland onto turf of yet another empire. When "life happens" unexpectedly, it's not necessarily negative to simultaneously focus on where and how we'd been, along with imagining the future we'd wanted or expected.

However, like exiles in Babylon, we still need to live right now, and in Wendell Berry's famous words, Jeremiah basically advises them to "practice resurrection," to live as if the disapora already was producing and enjoying fruits of the new creation. Our interdependent global community keeps showing us if we're thriving and healthy where we live, that well-being will ripple and radiate around the world.

The ongoing pandemic has taken us from the expected familiar, removed a lot of the expected from our everydays. As absolutely everyone encounters frustrations and probably some elations during this phase of rebuilding and revival, my Five Minute Friday free write this week on the prompt "become" reflects on living together into wellness.

Here's the complete Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front by Wendell Berry.

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