February 18, 2024 – May 23, 2024

Jeremiah: Prophet of Resilience

Jeremiah lived through deep pain—his own and his people’s –invasion, brutality, famine, deportation.

Human beings cannot absorb extreme violence as it occurs. The consequence of this shutting down is that memories of distressing events become fragmented, like a shattered mirror reflecting back slivers of stories and a cracked capacity to respond. Even so, these splinters take up residence in the mind … where they have a life of their own.

Yet somehow, Jeremiah’s words are that of resilience and theological re-imagination. The tears of Jeremiah, his scathing rants, his soaring poems and powerful promises flow across the pages of his book waking hearts of stone and coaxing passive victims into active meaning-makers and world rebuilders. Jeremiah points to God who is creating a new covenant in response to shattered trust, who is transforming devastation into a context for consolation and hope.

Jesus, too, lived in times of chaos and deep pain, particularly in his final days–military occupation, religious authoritarianism, betrayal of trust, abandonment by his community. Yet Jesus set his face toward Jerusalem trusting that God was with him, leading him through the suffering to resurrected life and love on the other side, both for himself and for the world.

Today, wars rage throughout the world. We face overwhelming personal challenges. When we take seriously the life of Christ, the words of Jeremiah, and the hard fought conviction that God

goes with us through the unthinkable, we, like Jeremiah’s audience before us, become receptive to the Spirit’s transformative work waking hearts of stone, remodelling PTSD into post-traumatic wisdom and coaxing passive victims into world rebuilders.

This Lent, we walk with Jesus toward his execution and with Jeremiah through the agony of his people. Our human inclination is to try to escape misery. This intentional Lenten journey is therefore a counter-intuitive spiritual practice. We do so gently. We do so as a community, practicing God’s presence through the pain. We do so, stretching our own capacity to be truly present with others and with ourselves when life brings desolation. We do so knowing that resurrection is the end of the story.