Tuesday, September 25, 2007

hope in real estate?

I'm stuck on the resilient hopefulness of Jeremiah's words in this week's scripture passage. Barricaded in the the palace during a siege by the Babylonians, he gets a word from God that he should buy a piece of land.

Purchasing real estate when your nation is being conquered is more foolish that buying into SoCal real estate at the top of its "bubble."

For Jeremiah, though, the deed of sale (which he tucks away in an earthenware vessel) represents his faith and hope that the people of Israel will again inhabit the land, establishing houses and fields and vineyards.

There are at least two things that have caught my imagination this morning:

-God's promise may seem far off, but it endures. In the face of simplistic theologies that would say something like "be good and you'll get your reward," Jeremiah is in the midst of hard times, but still holds on to a promise that somehow, sometime, things will get better. (He's certainly not going to avoid some seriously hard times.)

-Jeremiah chooses a relatively simple act that stakes out his confidence in a hopeful future. He marks out what is of value to him (and, here, it seems to be having safe land to work and to give a harvest to sustain life). It is a powerful testimony to those who read this passage.

I wonder what simple acts we might be a part of that would mark out our belief in a different reality than the one that seems to surround us now. I would describe that "different reality" as the world that God intends for us--a place where everyone is safe and well, and has enough and enjoys things of great beauty, together.

On Sunday, we'll share some stories of hope. But we'll also invite you to commit to simple acts that might show this faith to those around us...

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