Consolation and Encouragement   Leave a comment

Above:  Road Through Desert

Image in the Public Domain

Photographer = Gentry George, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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READING BARUCH AND THE LETTER OF JEREMIAH

PART IV

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Baruch 4:5-5:9

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Take courage, my children; call out to God!

The one who brought this upon you will remember you.

As your hearts have been disposed to stray from God,

so turn now ten times the more to seek him;

For the one who has brought disaster upon you

will, in saving you, bring your eternal joy.

–Baruch 4:27-29, The New American Bible–Revised Edition (2011)

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The story of the Book of Baruch continues with assurance of divine deliverance.  Baruch 5:9 reads:

For God is leading Israel in joy

by the light of his glory,

with the mercy and justice that are his.

The New American Bible–Revised Edition (2011)

The poem in Baruch 4:5-5:9 is beautiful.  Part of it is an Advent reading every three years.

Divine judgment and mercy exist in balance.  As I keep writing, I do not pretend to know what that balance is or should be.  I insist, however, that keeping the balance of divine judgment and mercy in mind is crucial to having a balanced theology.  Hellfire-and-damnation theology is heretical.  So is love without standards.  This is why I affirm the existence of Hell while arguing that God has never sent anyone there.  As C. S. Lewis wrote, the doors to Hell are locked from the inside.

The author of Baruch 4:5-5:9 understood Israel alone to be the people of God.  He lived before the time of Christ and the rise of the Church.  The author of Baruch 4:5-5:9 died before the birth of St. Paul the Apostle.  I, as a Gentile and a Christian, stand outside the people of God, as the author of Baruch 4:5-5:9 defined them.

Anthony J. Saldarini wrote:

We (in the churches) must complement the punishment for sin that Baruch promises to the nations with the story of God’s mercy and ongoing relationship with all nations in history.

The New Interpreter’s Bible, Volume VI (2001), 982

The love of God does extend to all people, after all.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 21, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE TWENTY-THIRD DAY OF ADVENT

THE FEAST OF SAINT THOMAS THE APOSTLE, MARTYR

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