Best Gig in the World

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There are seasons when it seems like all hell is breaking loose. If those seasons are long, we grow tired of them. We’re sick of playing the long game. We want someone to bring us good news, to tell us our long nightmare is over, to say, “‘Peace, peace!’ . . . though there is no peace” (Jer 6:14).  

Imagine being Jeremiah and facing a crowd like that. There are plenty of “prophets” who tell the people what they want to hear. But Jeremiah has heard the word of the Lord and knows it’s not at all what people want to hear. No wonder he’s called the “weeping prophet.” Bringing bad news to desperate people has to be the worst gig in the world. The Babylonians were bearing down on the people of Judah, who wanted to believe that, as God’s chosen, they would not be conquered. Jeremiah gets to tell them, “You will be. Give up.” He knows the false prophets—and even his friends—are watching for his fall, waiting to be vindicated. Yet he speaks the truth he knows, because that is his call.  

There are times when faithful Christians have to speak prophetically to the world: “If we continue on this path, it will take us to a very bad place.” But as Christians we know there is always, always good news, even in the darkest hour. Because as another prophet reminds us, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light” (Isa 9:1). When we bring that Light with us, all news is good news.  

© Liturgical Press.

Susan Pitchford

Susan Pitchford, a sociologist at the University of Washington and Third Order Franciscan, is author of The Sacred Gaze, God in the Dark, and Following Francis: The Franciscan Way for Everyone.

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