Missouri as the Land of Milk and Honey
Traditionally Lent has been a time of penitence for Christians. Jeremiah the prophet returns to God in prayer and asks for deliverance for the people. God’s response is that God will have compassion on them and will deliver them.
From my perspective, Jeremiah cries out to God for deliverance in a lament. God, of course responds, “I see the same desolation that you see.” God echoes what Jeremiah has said. “You’re absolutely right, human beings have made a terrible mess of things. The land of milk and honey has been turned into a wasteland.” I dug a little deeper to see what more God offers in response. God desires to be in relationship with all the people.
God’s plan for saving the people is to pluck them up and then have compassion on them. God also expects that the people will learn from this time of suffering and misery to rely on God for compassion and heritage. God desires to be in a covenantal relationship with all people. God desires that we turn away from worshiping false gods of prosperity and self-made security to worshipping God alone. And a fruit of this worship is that we would care for the poor, the marginalized and the forgotten. A state who listens to God’s desires for their lives will be built up. The consequence of choosing to live outside of God’s way is death and destruction.
Later in the book of Jeremiah, the prophet outlines what God has said about the destruction he brought on the people. He will now bring just as much health and wealth for the all the people, because of his utter compassion for them.
As people of faith, we understand that God desires for us to have compassion for others and to do justice in our land so that this great state that has often flowed with milk and honey for all the people might be restored to this prosperity where all are cared for. Expanding Medicaid is one way of sharing the prosperity of this great nation with the most vulnerable in our state. In doing so, we are returning to God’s ways. As the Lord lives, Missourians must have compassion for all the people of this great state.
Reverend Jennifer Thomas, Pastor, Immanuel Lutheran Church in Kansas City and Vice President, Missouri Faith Voices