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01.03.2021 Jeremiah 31.7-14 Remembering Our Hope Sermon Summary

by on January 4, 2021

Jeremiah is one of the “Major Prophets”: long books with complex compositional histories. The original Jeremiah was a visionary who inspired ongoing contributions in various contexts. This makes Jeremiah easily reinterpreted for other contexts up to the present day.

This passage is one of promise and hope in the midst of social instability and national uncertainty. Jeremiah urges the people to shout “Save!” He inspired a faith in God that led to this exclamation.

It is the same shout as “Hosanna!” when Jesus entered Jerusalem for the last time. Jesus, who healed blind and the lame, reminded the people of Jeremiah who made promises to the blind, lame, and child-bearing. These were experiencing less of life. Perhaps they bore the injuries and pains of life. To bear children was literally to bear the burden of life and to make sacrifices for life.

Jeremiah saw such people. Jesus saw such people. And we are such people today. Our physical and mental health leave us in a deficit. Distraction has made us spiritually blind. Wars have made us lame. We are anxious for our children. We sacrifice for our aging parents. Death and loss have left us less than whole. We are the blind, lame, and child-bearing.

Jeremiah makes the promises that God will bring us home. We are part of “a great company” according to Jeremiah. We are not alone.

The past year has reduced us. We are a remnant of what God desires for us. But God gathers what is lost. God redeems the remnant. God delivers us to a new future.  How do we know this? Because of the memory of faith. Fond memories sustain us in hard times. This is part of Jeremiah’s message to us today.

Jeremiah also offers us a vision, and Jesus picks it up also. There is food, dancing, and the exchange of gifts. Young women join in, and young men and old will be merry. It is, of course, a a wedding banquet.

The best of weddings celebrate companionship and the strength of partnership. Weddings represent the moment when parents are no longer anxious about their children in the same way. Weddings point to the potential of new life and the continuity of community. Best of all, they are festive occasions.

The memories, promises, and visions of Jeremiah inspire our prayers. It is because of this vision that we are bold to pray. The promises and visions show us how it’s supposed to be, but we experience otherwise. And so we pray for how it isn’t yet the way it’s supposed to be.

As we enter a new year and a new season, let us remember all that God has done for God’s people, renew our faith in God’s promises, and remember the hope we have for the future in Christ Jesus. Amen.

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