Haunted by a Deep Calling (Jeremiah 31)

The people of Israel have been haunted by a deep calling. You might say they were spooked. They escaped empire in Egypt. As they gutted it out in the wilderness, and sought a restful break, God’s call seemed a distant reality. All this for the ones who call themselves the people of God! Perhaps. Their DNA seems infused with hope and expectation and the belief that they are called to rebuild their community. And so they sing and dance together expectantly awaiting that day when they will be able to plant their vineyards on the mountainsides of Samaria and reap the fruits of their labor. They eagerly anticipate a healthy and teary return to Zion’s holy hill, the blind, lame, and disconsolate at the head of the parade. There was a time when the people had given up hope, fearful that the forces of empire would continue to hold them down. Something stronger than empire, however, re-emerged in the hearts and minds of the people of Israel — namely, that spooky sense that they were called (nay, insisted upon) in the name of God. Perhaps. When the countenance of the whole community was afire with peace and justice, they radiated a confidence and an insistence that the powers of empire could neither comprehend nor squelch. They stopped being a disparate people and became a Commonwealth of Peace and Justice on the move. Their crops will be harvested in abundance; their herds will grow fat and of great number; they will be a watered garden. The women will dance and the men will sing. Their mourning will be turned to joy; they will find comfort; sorrow will be exchanged for gladness. Audacious? Absurd? Unbelievable? Spooky? Of course!

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