The final words of Jeremiah’s diatribe hold out a sliver of hope for the wayward Israelites. Verses 27 and 28 offer a surprising shift in tone as they speak of restoration in the face of desolation.
The same possibilities also exist in our lives. No matter how severe the despair in our personal and political realms, no matter how far we have strayed from divine purposes, God says, ”And yet I will not make a full end.” God implies that we are not ultimately finished or defeated. Our God of second chances never gives up on us! Nothing can separate us from this unmerited love.
My congregation’s ministry to the addiction community, called The Way, emphasizes the spiritual aspects of AA’s 12-step program. As those in recovery share their struggles with the demons of addiction, we hear amazing evidence of the second (and third and fourth) chances God offers. Folks who have experienced the depths of existence witness to divine deliverance through their allegiance to a “higher power.” They find themselves strengthened and empowered by the God who compassionately utters, “And yet . . . . ”
The leader of The Way reminds us that we are all in recovery; each of us receives the reclaiming grace of God. In such “and yet” moments, a soft note of grace comes regardless of how we’ve failed. Like the errant Israelites, we encounter hope as lament, hope as survival, and hope for restoration from a steadfast God, even in the face of judgment. Miraculously, God’s hope for us feeds our hope for ourselves.
God may not always keep us safe, but God does indeed keep us. Thanks be to God!

Recall a time when you have experienced a second chance at a more abundant life, when you have heard God’s “and yet.” Express your gratitude for this steadfast love.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Luke 15:1-10

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Lectionary Week
September 5–11, 2016
Scripture Overview

The apparent message of Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28 is total despair, but verse 27 offers a soft note of grace. God’s redemptive purposes for the people will not ultimately be thwarted. Psalm 14 suggests that foolishness and perversity characterize all humanity, but God can gather from among sinful humankind a community of people who will nd their refuge in God. In First Timothy, the writer points to his own life as an example of God’s ability to reclaim and redeem persons. Luke 15 suggests how far God is willing to go to reclaim the lost. The par- ables of the lost sheep and the lost coin portray God as remark- ably and even recklessly active in pursuit of wayward persons.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28. When have you made a mess of things and suffered the consequences? What invitation surfaced from that situation?
• Read Psalm 14. How do you feel when you are out of touch with God’s call? What practices or disciplines do you employ to recognize God’s faithfulness?
• Read 1 Timothy 1:12-17. What can you do today that will show mercy and compassion to another?
• Read Luke 15:1-10. When have you felt God pursuing you? How did this feel like a gracious invitation rather than con- demnation?

Respond by posting a prayer.

This season, Whitney R. Simpson has given us the gift we must open: a clear, accessible invitation to connect with the divine spark that is within us. This is the best present: being present for Jesus’ birth, God made human.”

Learn more about our newest Advent resource, Fully Human, Fully Divine here.