Our daily readings tell of Jeremiah, the psalmist, and Jesus who are all in very tough situations. Jeremiah has just been taken into custody by a priest, Pashur, and the psalm, which is ascribed to a king, shows him surrounded by his enemies. Even our gospel passage from John involves a tense scene where those opposed to Jesus are poised to stone him for what they describe as “blasphemy.”
While we are (hopefully) not literally surrounded by mortal enemies, the situation we are currently facing actually does have many people around the world fearing for their lives. Others who aren’t worrying for their own health do worry that they could be asymptomatic carriers of the Covid-19 virus and could unwittingly infect someone else. So we “stay home and stay healthy” to keep others and ourselves safe, but in doing so, we are physically cut off from the communities of which we are a part. For many of us, fears and anxieties come creeping in as we make our way through very unusual and uncertain times.
Gratefully, the characters in our lectionary reading today give us a strong reminder about what it is to be people of faith. Directly following what scholars call Jeremiah’s “sixth lament,” the prophet delivers a part of a thanksgiving psalm, “Sing to the LORD, praise the LORD, for he has rescued the life of the poor from the power of the wicked!” Even in the face of great peril, Jeremiah is sure of the Lord’s saving grace and sings praises to his God. In the gospel reading, Jesus professes his (blasphemous!) faith that he is the Son of God – that “the Father is in [him] and [he is] in the Father.” Both Jeremiah and Jesus have assurance of God’s presence with them and from that assurance comes their courage and their strength.
So, let us today remember that, like Jesus, we are children of the ever-present God. In the knowledge that God sees our heart and our mind, we are confident that God knows us and is with us, loving us, every moment of every day. In both our moments of great faith and our moments of wavering faith, let us take heart as we bring the words of the psalmist to mind, “In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice. My God, my rock of refuge, my shield, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold!”