Prayer: Dear God, gather, lead and comfort us. In your love you we can dance and be merry. Amen
Reading: Jeremiah 31: 7-14 (Click to read text)
Stop and GROW: After reading the text, discuss/ponder the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Book of Faith questions, which are part of Camp Mount Luther's GROW Time with campers.
QUESTION 1: What scares, confuses, challenges, or doesn’t make sense to me in this text?
QUESTION 2: What delights me in this text or is my favorite part of the story?
QUESTION 3: What stories or memories does this text stir in me?
QUESTION 4: What is God up to in this text?
Reflection: Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy, I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow. Jeremiah 31: 13
Recently at a Chinese restaurant, my fortune cookie read, "While you're carrying a grudge, others are out dancing." Not kidding. That was my fortune cookie fortune. Not a good fortune at all. Very unsettling to say the least.
Fortunately (no pun intended), I don't put much confidence in fortune cookies. Still, the message - While you're carrying a grudge, others are out dancing. - still stung. I must admit there is some truth to that about me and even the person I was with looked at me in an, "If the shoe fits, wear it." sort of way.
So today's scripture reading is encouraging to me to say the least as it speaks of young women dancing and men being merry. That's more like it! Tell me what will bring this about? If I go by my cookie, not holding grudges would be a good start. It is true. Forgiveness goes a long way in making it easier to dance and be merry.
There is more, of course. The prophet Jeremiah is telling about the LORD gathering, leading and comforting His people. Ah, yes, then there is dancing, joy and gladness! And I am certain when we are gathered, led and comforted in the love of the LORD, grudges will go away, too. Let's dance! --Ruth Gates
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