Zechariah 8:1-8 Wednesday 9 December 2015

Psalm: Psalm 142


In this passage, the prophet Zechariah is speaking to a peoplewho sense they have failed. They can look back on a history ofprosperity and faithfulness, but now they understand their presentpredicament in theological terms. They have been faithless, andtherefore they have been abandoned. Into this dark misery aprophetic word is spoken... "I will return to Zion".

With God's return, everything else follows. The city of Zion(another name for Jerusalem) will be a place of safety and life,with "boys and girls playing in its streets"; a place of healthyand elderly people - zimmer frames abound. Their despair,occasioned by their self-understanding of faithlessness, and bytheir theological interpretation of their predicament asabandonment, is confronted with the hopeful reality of a God whostill loves them - "is jealous for her".

This is not an optimistic assessment by the remnant of despairingpeople; the situation is quite as bad as they sense it to be. Thisis instead an invitation to hope, based not on a positiveperception of a harsh reality, but by a faithful response to adivine word. Hope comes because God speaks: "They shall be mypeople and I will be their God." Hope comes because it is God whospeaks and who still loves them.

I wonder how such a passage is heard now? We do not usuallyinterpret our difficulties in theological terms, and see what isnow because of our own choices in the past. Our sense ofabandonment as Christians, who also look back to a history ofprosperity and faithfulness from a time of difficulty andchallenge, is probably interpreted in sociological or politicalterms.

This is a postmodern society, so what can you expect? I wonderthough, if the promise does not stay the same? Maybe God is stillsaying, "I will return to Zion." Is this where our hope lies?

To Ponder

  • How do you understand where we are now as a Church, and perhapsas individuals?
  • What do you believe God is saying into your darkness?
  • What response does God's speaking evoke in you?
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