Thursday, March 05, 2015

Jeremiah 4:9-10, Lent 2015, March 5


Today’s Lections: Ps. 71, Jer. 4:9-10, 19-28, Rom. 2:12-24, John 5:19-29

Jeremiah is famous as "the weeping prophet" of the Scriptures; but what we often do not let sink in is the prophet's mirroring of God's broken heart, his representation of God's inner pain. Jeremiah's tears embody the weeping of God. In today's passage, it is not Jeremiah's human weeping that stands out, but the burning tears of God. Hold on -- a weeping God? Much older Christian thinking wants none of this. Tradition has affirmed the impassibility of God, the conviction that God is invulnerable, unmoved, and fully without emotion (pathos).
Jeremiah, however, does not know our tradition. Rather, he introduces us to our vulnerable God, who cries out over a people bent on doom: "My anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain!" (Jer 4:19). Jeremiah experiences viscerally -- within his own body, through his own heart's painful, throbbing constrictions-God's genuine, intense pathos at the judgment descending upon Israel. His guts have him doubled up, tearing him up. With his intense poetry here, the prophet pushes us to empathize with God's pain, to despise our sin's shameful, wrenching effect on God's throbbing heart. Jeremiah helps us see how very much God must love us, to experience such intense divine pathos in firmly chastising us. This is a powerful Lenten truth indeed!


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