These words from Jeremiah remind us that actions have consequences. Where our actions are selfish, they will bring harm to others, where they take others into account, we too will benefit. We often see this in operation in our family life and churches where selfishness and self-centredness can cause an unfair burden to fall on others creating discord and resentment. However, it is also true in civic and national life. It is no accident that often people of faith have longer and happier lives than people of no faith; we are more inclined to consider the common good and in doing that we benefit ourselves too. Perhaps today we could aim to be more intentional about our response to the needs around us? What can you do today to benefit your neighbourhood and allow the light of God to shine a little brighter?
Lord of all the earth,
cities and towns,
villages and communities,
we know that you hold all of creation
in your heart.
Help us to see more clearly the needs of our community.
Help us to love more dearly our neighbours,
those we like, and those we find it difficult to like.
Help us to follow more nearly in your footsteps;
building up instead of breaking down
spreading kindness instead of gossip
rejoicing in what is good
and rejecting what is bad.
Bless us with your compassion, o, Lord.
Fill our hearts with your love,
our minds with your grace,
our mouths with your words of peace and acceptance.
4 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.