Jeremiah: Justice and Creativity in Divine Tension
What would you begin with? Do you start with colors, mixing blues and yellows until you have the ideal green? Or perhaps you start with shapes. The experiments with angles, arcs, and patterns might range from the antelope’s curious horns to the zebra’s chic black and white coat that never seems to go out of style. Remember, as creator, you have the freedom to do whatever seems good for you to do.
Then consider the traits you might build into your characters. Does each creation respond to your voice with the indifference of a housecat or the obedience of the faithful family dog? Do you create an army of sheep, who have a tendency to blindly wander their way into perpetual trouble, or do your design the mind of a goat, who seeks out danger willingly? Just keep in mind that you are free to do what seems good for you to do.
And now to humanity, which will be the “crown jewel” of your utopian creation. Will this creature respond to your voice with happy obedience or with trembling terror? Will man exist on his own, or woman on her own? Or can male and female work, live, and thrive side by side? Will humanity be humble or bold?
The possibilities are endless. Whatever you want to do, you can do, as long as it seems good for you to do.
Perhaps the endlessness of the possibilities of a perfect world bring you to a thousand questions. For me, they bring me to one, that sounds something like…“huh?”
Isn’t it striking how different our vision of creation is from our Creator’s? We would never dream up a world scenario that would allow for war, rape, murder and greed, and yet this is the world we live in every day.
Why, if the world is created as it seemed good for God to create it, is there such a word as “trauma”, much less the experience of it?
While it may be difficult to connect with a book written, like Jeremiah, nearly 3,000 years ago, in a far-away biblical place like Jerusalem, our experience of this world’s traumas are no less frequent; no less profound. That there is great disparity between a world meant to connect the Creator with his creation and the one we live in was every bit as disturbing to Jeremiah as it is to us today.
Over the next few months at Wits’ End we will be sitting with the prophet Jeremiah through the anxiety-laden sacking of the city of Jerusalem. In our introduction to the “weeping prophet”, we have already been shaken with a world that is vastly different from the world as it was meant to become. And yet, the prevailing image we have to work with is a potter at work who does “whatever seems good for him to do” to the lump of clay he is constantly reshaping.
Are you able to hold the tension of a God with the strength to destroy and the patience to rework as what will be has not yet come?