This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” Yes, this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the Lord.
–Jer. 29:4-9 NIV
In the midst of the most contentious political season in recent memory, it’s often hard to live out Jesus’ call to peace and forgiveness. We’re so wrapped up in our fear of what might happen if this candidate or that one gets elected, it’s hard to have any sense of objectivity.
To make matters worse, our social media is often an echo chamber where we only engage with people who agree with us, and we unfollow or unfriend those with contrary opinions. We suddenly find ourselves thinking we don’t really know people we thought we knew well because they support a candidate we despise.
Then there’s the national media, which seems intent on stirring our discontent in the interest of creating controversy to boost ratings. And even though the election will be over in just a few weeks, few of us expect that the vitriol will die down. It’s hard to imagine a way forward.
But there’s a little passage from the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah that might prove helpful. Writing to expatriate Jews during their exile to Babylon, Jeremiah urges the people to make peace with their enemies. He even goes so far as to suggest that they will prosper as their captors prosper. And he has a warning for those who might try to benefit from sewing strife.
What might it look like for us to seek the best for our political opponents? How can we imagine prospering under leadership we so deeply disrespect? And what about the dreams we encourage the “prophets and diviners” of our day to have?
Join us this Sunday, Oct. 16, in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company for a deeper look into Jeremiah’s 2,500-year-old prophesy and how it might help us navigate the difficult political waters of 2016.
Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm
Conversation Begins: 7:00pm