It took a year to read the Bible, then almost 9 months to read the Apocrypha. Now, I'm going to try to offer reflections on the Narrative Lectionary. But, I won't be posting daily--at least, for a while.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Return from Exile, a reflection on Jeremiah 31:7-9

Jeremiah is speaking to a people in exile, telling them--reminding them--what God can do, what God has done, what God will do.

"I will bring them back," God promises. 

They are now scattered. They are far from home. And, then dislocation is more than geographic--among them are the blind and the lame. All will be brought home. They will once more be together, once more be at home.

Jeremiah describes the gifts of their new life--grain, wine, and oil. Party food, everyday food.

Jeremiah is describing the return for exiles. They have been scattered, dispossessed, and now the Lord will gather them and bring them home. Among those that will be brought back, be included are the blind, the lame.

I've recently been reading The Bible Makes Sense by Walter Brueggemann. He asserts that the Bible is  describing something that happened a long time ago but not just that. Its preservation of memory shapes how we experience the presence.

Brueggemann says about the Babylonian exile:
They were not harshly treated for the most part, but they felt enormously displaced. They knew in their lives a terrible bitterness....and some concluded either that God had failed or that all of his promises were now void and empty
Brueggemann then explains that we learn from the prophets that exile is not a permanent condition, that to bring people home is God's work. Remembering what they knew about the return from exile shaped the understanding of the first followers (and can continue to shape ours) of the good news of Jesus.

For example, in this week's gospel lection, Jesus calls a blind man to him and restores his sight. The man then joins those following Jesus.

Brueggemann says that the church has learned from the first Christians what they had learned from the Scriptures and continues to act in a way that will restore displaced persons to community.

No comments: