For thus says
Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob,
and raise shouts for the chief of the nations;
proclaim, give praise, and say,
‘Save, O Lord, your
the remnant of Israel.’
8See, I am going to bring them
from the land of the north,
and gather them from the farthest parts of the
among them the blind and the lame,
those with child and those in labor, together;
a great company, they shall return here.
9With weeping they shall come,
and with consolations*
I will lead them back,
I will let them walk by brooks of water,
in a straight path in which they shall not
for I have become a father to Israel,
and Ephraim is my firstborn.
10Hear the word of the
Lord, O nations,
and declare it in the coastlands far away;
say, ‘He who scattered Israel will gather him,
and will keep him as a shepherd a flock.’
Lord has ransomed Jacob,
and has redeemed him from hands too strong for
12They shall come and sing
aloud on the height of Zion,
and they shall be radiant over the goodness of
over the grain, the wine, and the oil,
and over the young of the flock and the herd;
their life shall become like a watered garden,
and they shall never languish again.
13Then shall the young women
rejoice in the dance,
and the young men and the old shall be merry.
I will turn their mourning into joy,
I will comfort them, and give them gladness for
14I will give the priests
their fill of fatness,
and my people shall be satisfied with my bounty,
says the Lord.
What a parade
image– I mean he’s talking about bringing everyone back but he
names specifically the blind, the lame, the pregnant women, the
women in labor – now we’ve already been there on a Sunday
morning but for real, what kind of homecoming is that – those
that are otherwise focused or still in real pain or can’t even
see what the heck is going on?
parade continues, God is calling us all together -
homecoming of exiles has the faces of people we know – veterans,
wounded, troubled, homeless, hopeless, they are family men &
women, children without advocates,
lawyers, scientists, teachers, society has honed it’s ability to
marginalize and so all the outsiders, the exiled are in the
homecoming and the exilers are there too.
what you’ve been through with God in the last year, in the last
few years, no matter what – God is still with you, and God will
bring you back. That is the message today.
read any of the rest of Jeremiah you’ll know why this is called
the Book of Consolation – Jeremiah is not short of words of
guidance, of focus, of repentance for the people of his time,
often with harsh judgments from God should you not obey and then
these chapters come just in the middle of 52 chapters and
describes the homecoming of the century – the new year indeed!
When everyone, and he says everyone, will be welcomed home, will
join the party, will know God’s fullness and blessing and more
than just understand it, know it, will be filled with it too.
that feel like?
the first time you felt at home or experienced this church as a
place for you. Go to that feeling, sit in it –let it wash over
you – were you shopping around, did a friend bring you, remember
it – the moment you knew this was a place for you What was going
on? What was it exactly that created a moment of knowing – of
peace of mind – of joy in your heart – of resolution or welcome
– who do you see, what do you hear, Does it smell or taste- are
you using your hands or body in any way? Let it wash over you.
(if you haven’t had one yet…)
“I will lead them beside streams
on a level path where they will not stumble, “
That is the
easy stream, non stumbling path times that Jeremiah was talking
– was it worth the wait to wait for that moment of wholeness? –
It’s worth it, keep going, don’t give up. It’s worth trying
more, trying to make it, it’s worth living for.
You can come
back now, open your eyes…
It was an
awesome moment in your life! The question is, Can you carry
that moment, that feeling, inside you to carry you through when
it gets dark? Is that a moment you can rely upon, call out,
when sitting with a friend at the end of her rope? Because that
hope you felt then is the hope needed to get you through today’s
all the other times when you’ve had that feeling again – falling
in love with a person or with an idea.
together for the goodness and help of another.
building something with your own hands – flowers, food, humans,
houses, schools, a mission statement.
When we are
helping others to celebrate and praying together.
something that expands your consciousness – these are all
moments that are worth it – Worth life and the struggles we go
through, worth storing up and celebrating with others.
It is our daily prayer that we might see clearly and not trip
when we’re already carrying the heavy load – that we find people
to celebrate with, young and old – who have also made it through
the fire, through the exile, through the battles – that we be
soaked in that feeling you were just remembering – that feeling
of all encompassing love, a kind of being seen for you who are
and being accepted and felt whole in that moment . It’s worth
living for, that moment.
living for because we can rely those moments even when we don’t’
have anything else – when there’s no one to share it with and no
way to know which direction in life is better – when faced with
God will “Turning their mourning into gladness- that we will be
under a banner of joy, of renewal. Imagine that you will be
jumping up and down, hands up in the air not because they are
ready to fight and cursing the path that got them there but
because they are ready to dance, to work it out in an act of
worship – work out the labor, the pain, the ups the downs, the
fear – and to dance.
Dance in the
new. God has given us something to hold onto when we believe we
have lost it.
Let me read to
you something I think is worth living for:
We believe in the love
of God for all people.
We gather as a worshipping community of faith to follow
We delight together in what God is doing through us to
healing within brokenness;
unity within diversity;
joy within grief;
and power within weakness.
Our mission is to strengthen relationships we have with God,
with each other, with our families, and with our world.
To be living now, retelling the
story of the people of hope, of renewal,– these are our words -
we are these people struggling and thankful for each chance we
worth living for. It’s so worth it.
There is a
Buddhist precept that asks us to be mindful of how rare it is to
find ourselves in human form on Earth. To feel enormous
appreciation for the fact that we are here as individual spirits
filled with consciousness, drinking water and chopping wood.
That a very
small portion of life has the wakefulness of spirit that we call
“being human.” When you think of the ant and antelope, the worm
and butterfly, dog and bull, hawk and tiger, the oak trees and
the oceans… all of those living things are beautiful, awesome,
and our mindfulness of them is unique.
This Christmas time is precious
time. Time to celebrate our preciousness– our humanness.
Speaking of precious humans Weren’t the Torres twins the cutest
baby Jesus’ you have ever seen? And Hannah was an amazingly
cute baby Jesus back in 2007. But those girls, adorable. You
know on New Year’s Eve John Thompson was seated next to Kiana,
asleep in her car seat, one shoe on, one shoe…possibly lost
forever or maybe just in the car, we didn’t know. But Benjamin
enters…and she wakes…and she was so glad to hear his story – she
was lit up like a star – and being that cute – no one could
blame John for getting her out of the car seat and becoming
They are too
darn precious to let go of. We are too precious to let go of -
This is God’s love for us – the
way we look at a baby and know that hardships will arise but all
we see is the joy and celebration.
And connecting with a baby, face
to face, making them smile or watching them look around – it’s
an instant moment of gratitude for my own life, that I have so
much and understand so little and it’s practically a miracle
that I’m alive at all. Knowing that your precious human birth
is unrepeatable, and has it’s own unique challenges, what will
you do today, knowing that you are one of the rarest forms of
life to ever walk the Earth? How will you carry yourself? What
will you do with your hands?
Thurman’s shares his advice: Look well to the growing edge.
All around us worlds are dying and new worlds are being born;
all around us life is dying and life is being born. The fruit
ripens on the tree, the roots are silently at work in the
darkness of the earth against a time when there shall be new
leaves, fresh blossoms, green fruit. Such is the growing edge!
It is the extra breath from the exhausted lung, the one more
thing to try when all else has failed, the upward reach of life
when weariness closes in upon all endeavor. This is the basis
of hope in moments of despair, the incentive to carry on when
times are out of joint and men have lost their reason, the
source of confidence when worlds crash and dreams whiten into
ash. The birth of the child – life’s most dramatic answer to
death – this is the growing edge incarnate! Look well to the
few people I know made some great comments online that made me
think of the celebration and renewal Jeremiah is talking about
–even those in pain, the young and the old, everybody just
amazed and thankful and moving with purpose: