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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Today’s Scripture Reading | Jeremiah 30:18–22           

Thus says the Lord: I am going to restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob, and have compassion on his dwellings; the city shall be rebuilt upon its mound, and the citadel set on its rightful site. Out of them shall come thanksgiving, and the sound of merrymakers. I will make them many, and they shall not be few; I will make them honored, and they shall not be disdained. Their children shall be as of old, their congregation shall be established before me; and I will punish all who oppress them. Their prince shall be one of their own, their ruler shall come from their midst; I will bring him near, and he shall approach me, for who would otherwise dare to approach me? says the Lord. And you shall be my people, and I will be your God. (NRSV)

The prophet Jeremiah proclaims great and hopeful news to the people of Israel and Judah, who have spent years in exile in a strange land under the rule of oppressors. That good news includes that God will show them compassion: their city will be rebuilt on its original foundation; the protective walls around the city will be set right. The hopeful news is also that the people will make merry, sing songs, be honored, and grow in number. Their ruler will be one of their own. Future generations will belong to God’s congregation as God’s people, just as God will be their God.

Imagine if these words came to Syrian people today, especially former residents of Aleppo who have become refugees both within and outside their country, their home left in ruins. They yearn for the reality described above. That God has acted in history this way before is a testimony to the God of compassion and forgiveness who will act in this way again. God’s purposes are for life, love, and peace for all God’s people. A visiting pastor from Lebanon recently said, when talking about what we Christians in the U.S. should do regarding the violence in Syria, “Nothing is impossible. We need to work for a ceasefire to stop the killing and bring Syrians together to talk with one another. They can find peace with one another and would have by now if they were not receiving so much military support from outside Syria.” Let us pray and work for the God of compassion, the God of peace, who promises abundant life for all God’s people.

God of Possibility, God of Peace, we pray for Syria and for all places torn apart by war, that you would clear the path toward peace and strengthen all peacemakers. Amen.

Written by Victoria G. Curtiss, Associate Pastor for Mission

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