Pentecost +21 — Year C
Displaced. Exiled. Refugee. These words and more like them are artifacts of cruelty trampling community. They essentially say, “You must be done away with that I might flourish.” These are zero-sum game categories.
Jeremiah recognizes the reality of what we do to our selves and one another. There is no getting around the political, economic, and military realities of power and its lack.
Jeremiah also recognizes the reality of looking beyond a current balance of power. Since power is always being subverted from within, Jeremiah looks forward by essentially saying, “Flourishing where you are is the best investment you can make in a better future.”
This passage will need much further parsing as it could be used to justify cultural slavery and personal abuse. Part of the trouble we get in with scripture is how it can be manipulated to justify situations other than the one from which it arose. For the moment, if you always have your weather-eye open, close it for space for a long view; if you use a dream-eye to avoid another loss of worth, open it to see whether escape or subversion is available.
Can you both flourish and subvert (take a step to be elsewhere or toward a changed circumstance)? Yes. So, may you flourish no matter what degree of subversion of power is available to you. If you want to read more about a contemporary version of flourishing and subversion when exiled from your religious home, try LovePrevailsUMC.com.