Read Jeremiah 31:7-14.
January 2nd is a day that I will always think of as the day Montreat College Conference starts. It is true for today, returning from a pandemic hiatus. The theme this year is, “What’s Next?.” I am sure it will be different this year. As I write this devotion at the end of October, seeing there is still conference housing available at a time when it usually is all filled up is a reminder that the “next,” the “Are we there yet?,” is still in the distance. How true this must have been for Jeremiah in our text today.
The writing was on the wall for Jeremiah, and he gave voice to what was clear. Despite his truth-speaking clinging on to what he knew was good, the people didn’t want to hear it. The arrogance of the people to think their actions didn’t matter, well…they would have about 50 years to think about it, as they too would wait to come back. Maybe a couple “are we there yets” being mumbled by the exiles heading to the land of Babylon? Possibly similar questions being asked by those already there, curious if a new faithfulness would satisfy their return? Not yet…not yet…wait.
I came across a song the other day that closes with this line: “and the shepherd’s work was never done…”* How encouraging to the lost sheep to have a Shepherd who, like the one he had union with, did not slumber until all were brought back. Who turns mourning into joy!
Lord, thank you for leading us back. Amen.
Rev. John Rogers
* Mitchell, Anaïs. “Shepherd,” track 9 on Young Man in America, Wilderland Records, 2012.