Thought for the Day by Anna Bland (All Hallows’)
I love the narrative that our readings today give us. Two snippets of the Bible can sometimes tell us so much.
In Jeremiah 4 we see a prophecy of death and destruction. He rages against human sinfulness and speaks of the destruction that will come through judgement. I have always liked the book of Jeremiah – it is quite poetic and I love the drama of the language he uses.
‘I looked on the mountains, and behold, they were quaking, and all the hills moved to and fro.Jeremiah 4:24-25
I looked, and behold, there was no man, and all the birds of the sky had fled.’
Some have seen this imagery as linked to what could become of our planet if we do not get a handle on the climate crisis. I prefer to see it as more of an image of the desolation that sinfulness brings – sinfulness as understood as anything that separates us from being in right relationship with God, community and the world. A reflection on what pain and loneliness can feel like within each of us.
By contrast we see such a beautiful story of rebellious healer Jesus in John 5. This is a classic Sunday school story – the hole in the roof, the man’s friends lowering him through the ceiling so desperate were they that he should receive the healing touch of Jesus. It is not surprising this story is taught to children as it speaks of faith but also the incredible loyalty of friendship and is an example of what true friendship can look like. What is perhaps spoken about less in Sunday school is Jesus then getting into trouble with the religious elites (one of his favourite hobbies).
The contrast between desolation and destruction and the healer Jesus and a gang of determined loyal friends tells in miniature the story of redemption in the Bible. Jesus can bring healing to our inner turmoil and light into darkness, it does mean he annoys some of the know-it-all elites along the way but that can also be a lesson to us!