Monday, September 20, 2010

Looking Forward to September 26, 2010 -- 18th Sunday After Pentecost

The Scripture Readings this week are:
  • Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15
  • Psalm 91(VU p.807)
The Sermon Title is Speculative Real Estate

Early Thoughts: The end is near!  The enemy is at the gates. It is only a matter of time. What else would one do but buy some land?

It doesn't make sense, does it?  The doom that Jeremiah has been predicting is about to fall.  Nebuchadnezzar's army is going to destroy Jerusalem.  Jeremiah himself is imprisoned because of his prophecies (apparently the ruling powers don't take kindly to being told that they are about to be destroyed because of their behaviour).  Buying a piece of land seems to be a strange choice.  But that is the Word of the Lord that Jeremiah receives: “Buy my field that is at Anathoth, for the right of redemption by purchase is yours.”.

Why?  As the land is about to be conquered (it is highly likely that  the parcel of land in question is already held by the Babylonians) and a new regime is taking over it would seem that buying land under the old rules is a waste of time and money.

Or is it an act of defiant hope?  Is Jeremiah taking such pains to protect the deed from destruction as a sign that someday it will be worth something?   So it appears.  The land purchase is a way of saying that there is hope, there is still hope even as the unthinkable is happening

To be a follower of God's Way is to be a person of hope.  And it means being a person of hope even as the world is crashing down around us.

In today's world someone buying property as the world crashes is often accused of being a speculator, of buying low to sell high later (some would call this sound fiscal policy).  But what if it is an act of faith?  What if as the local mill/mine/auto plant announces lay offs and closure we went out and engaged in acts of hope that all will be well?  Would that be an act of faith or madness?

Many have argued over the last few decades that the Babylonians are at the gates of the church, or have already carted us off into exile.  In that case what are the acts of hope that keep us going, that allow us to trust in the Promise?

In a very hard world, where people died young from plague and warfare and revolt, Julian of Norwich was inspired by God to write these words:
All shall be well,
All shall be well,
All manner of things be well
That is our hope too.  But it isn't enough to say we believe it.  It isn't even enough to believe it.  If our hope has any meaning it is because we act it out.  What fields should we be buying on spec?

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