A compelling vision
Jeremiah 31: 8-14 (NIVUK)
8 See, I will bring them from the land of the north
and gather them from the ends of the earth.
Among them will be the blind and the lame,
expectant mothers and women in labour;
a great throng will return.
9 They will come with weeping;
they will pray as I bring them back.
I will lead them beside streams of water
on a level path where they will not stumble,
because I am Israel’s father,
and Ephraim is my firstborn son.
10 ‘Hear the word of the Lord, you nations;
proclaim it in distant coastlands:
“He who scattered Israel will gather them
and will watch over his flock like a shepherd.”
11 For the Lord will deliver Jacob
and redeem them from the hand of those stronger than they.
12 They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion;
they will rejoice in the bounty of the Lord –
the grain, the new wine and the olive oil,
the young of the flocks and herds.
They will be like a well-watered garden,
and they will sorrow no more.
13 Then young women will dance and be glad,
young men and old as well.
I will turn their mourning into gladness;
I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.
14 I will satisfy the priests with abundance,
and my people will be filled with my bounty,’
declares the Lord.
The start of a new year feels like a good time to look to the future and wouldn’t it be nice to have, like this passage in Jeremiah describes, a bright and shining future vision? A vision where paths are smooth and everyone, even those who are vulnerable, are welcome.
It's not often we can start the year with these things to look forward to, perhaps it is why we look to ourselves instead. A smaller project, one we can stand in front of a mirror and picture. But this year I challenge you to look beyond that reflection. Look to your house, your community, our world in 2020, with the hopeful vision of Jeremiah and the people who heard him and rejoiced.
However your new year has started — whether with sorrow or joy, uncertainty or clarity of view — let’s create a vision we can all look forward to. Then step by step, let’s make that vision a reality.
You can see further than we can imagine
Gift us with your eyes to see the world as you would like it to be
Lend us your strength to help that vision become real
Help us also to look after the person in the mirror