S (Scripture): Jeremiah 51:5 God, the Lord of heavenly forces, hasn’t abandoned Israel and Judah, even though they live in a land filled with guilt before the holy one of Israel.
O (Observation): God’s people were oriented towards God after being rescued from Egypt. Over time, they wandered away from God’s guidance. They began to make their own paths without asking God about “where to next?”
As a result, God allowed them to wander and – eventually – be destroyed by the Babylonians. The Babylonians came in, but God did not forget the people of Judah and Israel.
One day, God’s people would be set free and come back into their homeland. What comes first is not the people’s pleas, but God’s mercy – thus he verse above.
God made a covenant that God will never forget…so God extends grace, and the people will eventually see this and respond with a new orientation: Hope in the midst of challenge.
A (Application): We are a people very much divided. In an attempt to bridge some of the divide, our Theology on Tap group from Advent Lutheran Church gathered last night under the topic: “Race Relations in 2017 – Where do we go from here?”
25 of us gathered (21 white and 4 black) to discuss the issue of racism, of identity through skin color, and white supremacy. Are there problems? Yes! Are we hopeless? No!
We have seen progress, but like the crowd of God’s people that Jeremiah was addressing, we are a place steeped in sin, and the only way forward, is through the grace of God.
I am hopeful. We will start a mini-series of talks and conversations on race relations, and we will ask God to lead us. Please say a prayer for us as we do the work of the Gospel, here in Murfreesboro, TN.
P (Prayer): Lord, guide us into the way of peace and unity, amidst our diversity. Amen.