Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Jeremiah 29:1-7

Pentecost +20 - Year C

Jeremiah 29:1-7

We dismiss folks by calling them dreamers, out of touch with reality. Jeremiah's letter recommending people flourish where they are, opens him to the accusation of being a dreamer.

Does Jeremiah not know our human response to having a perk taken away from us? We are supposed to get angry and work assiduously to regain the privilege and garner more! Or so says our Snake Self when not in healing mode.

In exile many perks are taken away. And it is not just the quantity of loss but the quality. Our native tongue and all the memories it carries is lost. Our favorite seasonings, not to mention our favorite foods, are lost. Relationships, standing, and class are all lost. Some losses bind us to the past.

As we attempt to get our minds and hearts around questions of subversion of our vanquishers, our enemies, along comes this dreamer, Jeremiah, with his letter asking us to simply flourish where we are - fearful and lost. At bottom Jeremiah dreams for us a different present and future than we have for ourself. Our vision is to continue the past, to return to where we were and the power we had. Jeremiah's dream is about cutting the immigrant's nightmare down to size by noting all the reality of loss and moving on. Some losses open us to the future.

Whatever has been lost, has been lost. Spending energy on it in regret and grief, in fantasies of revenge and return, turn out to be counter-productive. The loss cannot be put back together again, no matter how many king's horses and king's men are put to the task. All that is left for us is to put our best toward a better tomorrow for our captors as well as ourselves. If we are in it for only ourselves, we will simply repeat the cycle of violent competition and a zero-sum power game.

For what are you being called, counter-intuitively, to help flourish by remaining true to what is better for all and not just yourself?

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