"Psalm 23," John August Swanson. Used by permission from the artist.
Image © by John August Swanson. Artwork held in the Luther Seminary Fine Arts Collection, St. Paul, Minn.
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Jeremiah's Letter to Exiles
Jeremiah 29:1, 4-14 Commentary
by Juliana Claassens
The prophet’s letter to the exiles in Jeremiah 29, which has travelled across a vast distance in order to bring comfort and much needed advice to those who find themselves under imperial rule a long way from home, emerges as a powerful testimony to resilience and survival.
This letter reflects a traumatized community who has lost everything: their loved ones, their homes, their beloved city Jerusalem, their language and culture in addition to the familiar expressions of their religion connected to the temple that had been destroyed. The underlying question addressed by Jeremiah’s letter is one that may also live in many other uprooted individuals and communities: How does one go on after such a devastating disaster?
Jeremiah 29:4-7 in particular exhibits something of the drive present in many refugee communities, then and since, that refuses to give up. It speaks of the desire to pick up the pieces of their lives and to start living again. The focus in verses 4-7 thus is on a range of activities that signal a return to some kind of normalcy -- such as building houses, planting vineyards, celebrating weddings -- and serves as a powerful testimony to resilience. These ordinary activities express the basic yearning for being safe and secure in the comfort ...
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The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
NL292: Jeremiah's Letter to Exiles
November 26, 2017
This is the podcast for Jeremiah 29:1, 4-14, the Narrative Lectionary reading for Nov. 26, 2017, featuring Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Kathryn Schifferdecker, and Craig Koester. Podcast recorded at Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, Minn.