23 May 2014

Jeremiah 14:1-9

“Yet you, O Lord, are in the midst of us, and we are called by your name; do not forsake us!” (v. 9b)


These verses from Jeremiah form part of a liturgy of lament. Here the words describe the drought that the people are experiencing, with verses 2-6 providing a vivid picture of their distress and mourning.

There is no reference to who is speaking, nor to who is being addressed. In the desolation it appears that even the deity is absent, the parched landscape indicating an absent god. The people ask why God will not act: whether God cannot or is unwilling. God is referred to as a stranger or a traveller who stops overnight and then moves on, and yet God's presence is acknowledged in the midst of the community. God is recognised as Israel's hope and saviour. It is to God that the people belong.

To Ponder

  • In times of lament people cry out to God: declaring their suffering, questioning their situation, and appealing to God to act. Consider how often lament is part of public worship, and whether there is a place for it today?
  • How do you respond before God in times of suffering and struggle?
  • During those times when it feels as if God is absent, what helps to remind you that God is in our midst?

Bible notes author

The Revd Nicola Price-Tebbutt

Nicola Price-Tebbutt is a presbyter in the Methodist Church. She has previously served in circuit in Sheffield and as a tutor at Hartley Victoria College in Manchester.