Submitted by Jan on Tue, 24/09/2013 – 22:14
Year C (2012-2013)
Bible Book: Jeremiah / Jeremia
Verse: 1 – 15
In our text from Jeremiah 32: 1 – 15, we are taught about living in hope, even when things look bleak. The context of today’s text is uncertain and trying times in Jeremiah’s life. He is in some way under house arrest, as we are told that he is confined in the courtyard of King Zedekiah. His freedom has been taken away from him.
His imprisonment is as a result of his speaking the truth in love, as a prophet. Even when he is under such restrictions, he continues to proclaim the impending punishment through exile for the Judeans and their King who drifted away from God’s ways to their ways. He could not be silenced from proclaiming the truth as God’s messenger. This is in line with one of the Guiding Principles in the Churches Channels of Hope training, which calls us “to speak the truth in love” in order to break the silence about the HIV and AIDS pandemic. We are called to proclaim the truth that being HIV positive is not a “life sentence nor a punishment from God for sinning”.
Like Jeremiah, we know that there are Zedekiahs in our communities, who would prefer not to hear this message of truth, that God calls us to repent for stigmatising those infected and affected by HIV and AIDS. We are called to love our brothers and sisters living with HIV and to treat them with dignity.
Though the people of Judah felt terrified about the impending exile Jeremiah was proclaiming to them, he did something that appeared to contradict his message in their eyes.While he proclaimed that Jerusalem will be under siege by the Babylonians, he still went ahead to redeem the field of his cousin Hanamel, as ordered by God. This was a sign of hope for the future, that, although they may go into exile, God will redeem them and life will go on as normal. This was in line with the Jewish law of the Lord’s favour, where things should be restored to their rightful positions after every 50 years. This law allowed the Jewish people who had been dispossessed and those enslaved to live in the hope that God will restore them if they keep on trusting in Him.
In the last verse of our text for today, in Jeremiah 32:15, we are reminded of this hope: For this is what the Lord Almighty says: Houses, fields and vineyards will again be bought in this land.
As Christians we are assured that, if we hope and trust in Jesus the Christ, our freedom will be restored. Our role is to restore this hope to those infected and affected by HIV and AIDS so that we can all live a positive life.
To think about: Do we stop proclaiming the truth because people do not want to hear it? How do we inspire hope for a better future for all of us infected and affected by HIV and AIDS?
Written by: Rev. Tsepo Matubatuba. Priest and HIV and AIDS Coordinator. Anglican Diocese of Johannesburg.
Author: Matubatuba, T (Rev)