08 September 2007

courageous confessions

Of the Hebrew prophets, Jeremiah is probably my favorite. I admire him. I admire his courage. Based on what the scriptures tell us, I don't think any other prophet is forced to endure all that he does. (Of course, Amos receives death threats, Ezekiel is taken into exile and loses his wife, and so on. There is no valid arithmetic to suffering.)

What I really admire is his vulnerability. That's what we see in the so-called "confessions" of Jeremiah--11:18-12:6, 15:10-21, 17:14-18, 18:18-23, 20:7-18. These are poems in which he isn't shy about letting God know the betrayal he feels. Didn't you promise to protect me? So why are so many terrible things happening to me? The image I've included, "Jeremiah," which is a woodcut by Jacob Steinhardt, captures powerful emotions: shock, pain, disbelief...but beneath it all, there remains love.

Jeremiah's confessions display courage. Many people believe that faith must be blind, that we must be "dead certain" (or at least, pretend to be). Read the book of Jeremiah. Meditate on his confessions. They bring a badly-needed corrective to our world today.

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