Jeremiah 29:1, 4-14 (NRSV)
1These are the words of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the remaining elders among the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.
4Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. 8For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let the prophets and the diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, 9for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, says the LORD.
10For thus says the LORD: Only when Babylon’s seventy years are completed will I visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. 11For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. 12Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. 13When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, 14I will let you find me, says the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
God of New Beginnings, You have promised me abundant life in the places where you plant me. I confess that sometimes the mystery of what lies ahead can paralyze me with inaction. I find myself leaning on my own (in)abilities and forgetting the words of your promise. Help me, O God, to take these words to heart, to know that the future with hope that you offer is so much better than any future I might create on my own. Thank you, Lord, for your invitation to co-create with you and to build a life from which I can live out the values of my faith. Strengthen my resolve to start building, even today. Amen.
Written by Rev. Michelle Scott-Huffman (she/her), Campus Minister
Ekklesia at Missouri State University in Springfield, MO.
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