To some in our world today parts of this passage from Jeremiah 4 will feel more like an accurate description of the weather than a horrible portent of what is to come. Once upon a time the world, and the people on it, remembered how to live peacefully together, we remembered the stories, we were not surprised to discover that the earth could fight back if we went too far. God was there then and God is here now. God is the creator of the earth and loves it, just as the earth loves its creative creator.
In the Bible, and in storytelling of all kinds, we find many visions of a world made barren by the actions of people. Some stories are meant to be lived with and mulled over until we need to hear them. Others are sent to tell us —point blank— to change our ways. But even those stories are not without hope, for what is a story, or a God, without hope?
God of the earth
We have not listened to the stories you have told us
We have delayed and stalled and ignored and now we see what that has brought us
Send your forgiveness to us in a desert of our own making
Heal the earth for our children and teach them to love you and to love it better than we have.
24 I looked at the mountains,
and they were quaking;
all the hills were swaying.
25 I looked, and there were no people;
every bird in the sky had flown away.
26 I looked, and the fruitful land was a desert;
all its towns lay in ruins
before the Lord, before his fierce anger.
27 This is what the Lord says:
“The whole land will be ruined,
though I will not destroy it completely.