Items posted on 7 June 2010
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Jeremiah 2 – Sacred history
Posted: 7 June 2010 in Jeremiah

Thus saith the LORD, What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain? Neither said they, Where is the LORD that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, that led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and of pits, through a land of drought, and of the shadow of death, through a land that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt? And I brought you into a plentiful country, to eat the fruit thereof and the goodness thereof; but when ye entered, ye defiled my land, and made mine heritage an abomination. The priests said not, Where is the LORD? and they that handle the law knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit.

Idolatry is obviously an issue which is as relevant in our time as it was in Jeremiah’s time. And yet, when I tried to think how Jeremiah’s words could be applied in our own time, I had difficulty in doing so.

I then realised I was having difficulty because Christianity does not have a sense of God’s continuing activity in history, similar to the one which Jeremiah possessed. Instead of a religion rooted in history, we have a religion rooted in the lecture theatre, where abstruse metaphysical formulations are regularly rehearsed.

The root cause of our problem, I think, is our notion of God’s final revelation having been given 2,000 years ago. That has led to a kind of cut off point around about 70AD, and any idea that God was active after that date is given only notional assent. We talk and think as if God has been completely absent from history for most of the last 2,000 years, which of course he hasn’t.

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