*For the next few weeks, we will look at the lectionary passage from the previous week.
Lectionary Scripture: Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15 (NRSV)
Oklahoma got hit with a double whammy when we experienced the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression in the mid-1930’s. When drought set in and the dust storms were more common, the decreased prices for agriculture and livestock forced many Oklahomans to migrate west to California.
Land was not worth much and was often abandoned.
Even years after the drought had ended, dust storms were still common.
Sheryl’s grandparents returned to Oklahoma after living in Vermont for a number of years in the 1940’s. They lived in the Panhandle in Guymon and her grandmother told about hanging wet sheets over the doors and windows when a dust storm blew through. This would help them breath a little better but there were still layers of dust to be cleaned after it blew through.
Years later in the mid-1990’s, when I was appointed to Drummond in the north central part of our state, I can remember dust storms blowing through the town. We had clothes lines in the backyard and would sometimes hang sheets to dry. Once the red dirt turned them pink! You learned to bring them in if you didn’t want to redo your wash.
In our scripture today, we see Jeremiah looking to redeem land. His problem was not environmental but rather a foreign military power besieging their gates. The effect on land price was the same. It was worthless.
Yet Jeremiah is invited by God to redeem the land. This was a family option instilled by the covenant to keep a family from losing their ability to make a living. He has the option to buy his cousin’s land. He does so publicly with great show to make a statement. This was a sign act. It was done to indicate hope in a future that only God could provide.
It was a statement that God was still present even though appearances spoke to the contrary.
What kind of sign acts do we make today?
I would say that attending worship is one such sign act. We gather together even when the culture at large is beginning to abandon Sunday morning worship. We are declaring that God will have a future here after all. In doing so, we offer encouragement to ourselves and to one another.
This Sunday, we’ll continue to explore this passage as we celebrate World Communion Sunday together. This is one of my favorite days of the year as we recognize our solidarity with other Christians around the globe. I hope you’ll join us as we embrace the hope that God gives us!
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