The Seventeenth Sunday After Pentecost
“How lonely sits the city that was once full of people… The roads to Zion mourn for no one comes to the festivals.” — The lament of Jeremiah
It is difficult to read the lamentations of the prophet Jeremiah, especially when one has a sense of the horrors that accompanied them and were the occasion of their writing. It is also difficult not to associate these laments with the life of the Christian churches today—cities once full of people, festivals once attended by the masses!
We have all no doubt heard and most likely embraced the narratives of decline that are offered year after year regarding the presence and influence of Christianity in the West and especially in our national discourse and ethos. So what are the churches to do in such a situation? Lament is not a bad place to start. The vulnerability and humility required in lament would probably do the churches some good. Tears have a way of helping to clarify one’s vision, but, though lament may be the place to start, it isn’t the place to finish.
This Sunday I would like to consider our gospel text as a kind of response to the current cultural situation in which the churches find themselves in. The disciples ask Jesus for more faith and his reply is anything but granting that. Apparently Jesus did not think that “more faith” was what his disciples needed—even though we have not stopped praying that prayer! So what was Jesus’ response? I’ll see you on Sunday as we explore it together. See you then!