July 23rd, 2004
Political Science and International Studies
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“Two evils have my people done, they have forsaken
me, the source of living waters; they have dug for themselves cisterns, broken
cisterns, that hold no water.”
In the reading from Jeremiah God calls the rebellious children to return
and promises to provide wise shepherds for them. The psalm develops
images of how glorious life will be when God guards and shepherds His flock.
What is the rebellion that these verses from Jeremiah stress? Dancing
around a golden calf? Engaging in wild promiscuous behavior?
Well, I must confess that I am not a scholar of Jeremiah, so I may be interpreting
these verses too literally, but the rebellion sounds like a rebellion of
self-sufficiency. The people are forsaking all God wants to give them
and instead insisting on taking matters into their own hands. The verses
in Jeremiah express God’s utter frustration at this “the heavens will
be amazed and shudder with sheer horror.” As the parent of a four year
old I can certainly relate to the feeling of frustration that results from
a child refusing advice and insisting on doing things himself, regardless
of the consequences. Often doing something the way my son wants to
do it becomes more important than accomplishing the initial goal, and then
he gets so intent on having his own way that he does the task (whatever it
is) even more poorly.
Today we can reflect on the goodness of God’s provision and repent from our
own rebellion of self-sufficiency. The parable of the seed offer useful
images for this reflection. Are we spending too much of our time and
attention tending to the thorns that choke us? Are we spending enough
time taking sustenance from the good soil of God’s provision? God promises
to guard and shepherd us so that we can bear much fruit. Are we willing
to try to live out that belief today by giving more attention to God’s provision
and wisdom than to fighting thorns or digging broken cisterns?
to the writer of this reflection.
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