Is There No Balm in Gilead?

"Terror let loose!" thunders the text of the prophet Jeremiah (650 - c. 570 BC), quoting Psalm 31.
Rereading this amazing Old Testament book from the sixth century BCE  in the opening days of this new 2020 decade, I am struck by the description of a world totally different from ours and a time so eerily like ours.
Our hearts and our minds and our spirits are assaulted by
• The relentless pace of events
• The omnipresent 24-hour news cycle
• Our nation and the world spiralling wildly out of control
• A reality that immobilized rather than energized

Even in our rather bleak, post-modern landscape, one wonders whether God still has a word for us, what it is that we can yet offer to one another, and what the cost might be to each of us if all of us are to weather this storm.
We experience an endless stream of news updates, but I ponder whether there is an older wisdom that could
• Ground us
• Challenge us
• Heal us and
• Inspire us

I am praying that February 17-18 at the Ridge will be one such opportunity as we take time to contemplatively reflect and consider our personal and communal responsibilities amid our contentious, contemporary political climate. If the balm in Gilead (Jeremiah 8:22) is still available to us today, I believe we can only find it together.


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Mike Clark

Mike Clark has been active in the peace and justice movement since 1965. His serious engagement with the Bible has led him to be part of the peace movement during the Vietnam era, work with William Sloane Coffin at Riverside Church on nuclear weapons...