The ninth chapter of Jeremiah reads like scenes from the typical American drama. I don’t know what grabs your attention but I have become particularly intrigued with Scandal -- deception and manipulation; the exertion of power and influence; greed; the constant hunger for more and then boasting about it to boot. Yes, I am intrigued by what seems to drive humankind in art and in life. However, there comes a time when our sanctuary of lies begins to crumble, a time when all that we’ve put stock in is blown away like chaff in the wind. There comes a time when our desolate rituals and barren ceremonies leave us clamoring for meaning and purpose in the world, and there also comes a time when common calamity and circumstances beyond our control show us that we are inadequate at best. We realize in those moments that our intellects, influence, and money offer us no comfort or recourse and we are left vulnerable and uncertain; lacking and wanting. Super storm Sandy barreled its way up the eastern seaboard, battering and devouring everything in its path, leaving many of us rattled and distressed. Sandy moved swiftly without respect of persons, property, or politics. We were all left crippled and impotent in some way. We could not think our way out of it, neither could we fight our way out of it, nor could we buy our way out of Sandy’s jolting impact. Sandy was a harrowing reminder of what is truly important. It was a reminder that God has a way of leveling the playing field. It was a reminder that human wisdom, power, and money can fail us in the time of our greatest need.
Just as God called the nations to lament, today in this season of soul-searching reflection and perhaps in the labor of our own lament,
let us seek to know God personally and passionately.
Knowing God is the most valuable knowledge in the world, because knowing God sets everything
else in the world in order. Let us take no pride in being savants of the scriptures, but rather let our boasting be in our understanding and intimacy with the God of scripture. Let God be glorified in the love, kindness, and justice flowing through us toward others, for to be intimately acquainted with God is to be transformed. For there is no knowing without being. “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8, NIV)
Simone Oliver, Seminary Deacon