Jeremiah: Do Not Fear – Part IV
Christmas Thursday, December 29, 2016
The prophet Jeremiah reminds us that we need not be afraid even in the long and wearying times of violence and war.
“Do not be afraid of [the nations], for I am with you to deliver you,” declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 1:8)
“For behold, I will save you from afar and your offspring from the land of their captivity. And Jacob will return and will be quiet and at ease, and no one will make him afraid”. (Jeremiah 30:10)
“Do not be afraid of the king of Babylon, whom you are now fearing; do not be afraid of him,” declares the Lord, “for I am with you to save you and deliver you from his hand”. (Jeremiah 42:11)
“Now so that your heart does not grow faint, and you are not afraid at the report that will be heard in the land – for the report will come one year, and after that another report in another year, and violence will be in the land with ruler against ruler”. (Jeremiah 51:46)
Centuries after Jeremiah gives us these words, God continues to be our deliverer, our savior, and our ruler against the kings and powers that threaten our very existence. God tells us, through Jeremiah, that we cannot fear the atrocities we witness and we cannot cower in the face of annihilating forces that wipe out peoples and cultures for God continues to walk and live among us. The child Jesus is the new ruler who governs us for more than an earthly time of war. The child Jesus invites us into a new, inverted, eternal kingdom where the marginalized are the center of the universe.
Today we might ask, “Where do we put the fear that takes hold of us when we witness chaos and carnage? How do we calm our anxiety when we experience outrageous acts against nature and the peoples created by God? When we listen to the voice of Jeremiah, we find that our fears dwindle, and we remember that God’s promise is already with us leading, guiding, saving.
Throughout Christmastide, we continue to reflect on the many ways God says to us, “Do not fear. I am here with you always”.