Jeremiah 29:1-14 Returning Home
…For thus says the Lord: Only when Babylon’s seventy years are completed will I visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
The story in Jeremiah tells of people in Jerusalem who are exiled to Babylon. I read it as a story of leaving home and coming home again.
I was looking through the passages offered, and this was the first. I skipped right through it hoping I would find another that would resonate with me, and I could compose something.
But it was not to be. I returned even though there is no way I can relate to being exiled from one country to another, and I can’t fathom the risk and the unknowns of leaving your home to move to new surroundings or a foreign land. But then I thought of it more personally, as not a new country but as a change of workplace.
Ok, you say, what did you see in this reading that caused you to reflect on it? Well, I came to Lewinsville in October of 2001, and it became my home. At the time I thought I would always be at Lewinsville. But then an opportunity, and what I interpreted as a call, was put in my path and I followed the leading, departing Lewinsville and going to my Babylon of Alexandria, VA.
I wasn’t there seventy years but ten, and God then brought me home. In his words to the people who were exiled and returned to Jerusalem, God said, “I will bring you home for great things.” Little did I know that I would come home to Lewinsville, and we would embark on a body of work together that resulted in the renovation and restoration of the church building and rewards that I never thought possible.
And there is the link – we can be used by God if we follow God’s leading and live our lives in obedience. We can follow the path that he lays before us. For God says in this reading, “I will bring you home, for I know the plans I have for you. Plans to give you hope and a future.” I have loved being home and await God’s leading in the future.
Peace be with you, be attentive to God’s leading. Stop, be still, and listen. God will speak to you in ways it is not always easy to discern, but if you can open your heart and “let go and let God” you will be surprised and enriched by the leading of our Lord. Amen.