Go Buy a Field

“For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Houses and fields and vineyards shall again be bought in this land.'” – Jeremiah 32:15

O, Jeremiah, what a run you’ve had.

God called you in your youth,
a prophet to the nations,
destroyer, overthrower,
whose words would bring the powerful down.

So to a people well assured
their safety and their righteousness
were beyond query, you announced
they’d changed their fountains for a leaky cistern.

You spoke your words to Baruch’s pen,
to read before the king and summon him
and all the nation to repent, reform, renew.
At king’s command your words were shriveled in the flame.

From summons to reform you turned to warning,
warning of disaster unavoidable,
while all this time the guilty prospered,
and the linen loincloth festered in the earth.

You languished in the stocks and raised your plaint
to God, whose flaming word would not relent
within you, making you a laughingstock
and grieving that you’d lived your life.

You watched your city fall, its leaders hauled
away and into exile, a monarch’s uncle crowned
as client king, and knew (as who would not)
that folly’s day of triumph still was yet to come.

And now, confined by royal order in
the palace guard, invading armies all
around the city walls, you hear the Divine Word:
Come, Jeremiah, buy a field.

Come, Jeremiah, buy a field,
because though armies yet will harrow
this beleaguered citadel, destroy its
ancient temple, spatter it with blood,

A day will come when land once more
will pass from family to family,
from ancestor to progeny,
and grain will ripen in the sun.

O Jeremiah, now I have to ask:
Of all the things you suffered
(cisterns, stocks, and ridicule),
was anything so challenging as hope?

A poem/prayer based on Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15, the Revised Common Lectionary First Reading for Year C, Proper 21 (26).

The image is Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem by Rembrandt (1630) – http://www.rijksmuseum.nl : Home : Info, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10720351.

3 thoughts on “Go Buy a Field

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