Monday, August 25, 2014
Jeremiah 20:7-9 has had a strong appeal for me since I first read The New Jerusalem Bible's translation many years ago. "Duped," "deceived," "enticed," are translations that I have seen for the Jewish verb used in verse 7. Here's what New Jerusalem does with it: "You have seduced me, Yahweh, and I have let myself be seduced." The Jewish Study Bible points out places in the Scriptures where the verb is used to describe a man's seduction of a woman and a woman's seduction of a man.
Pope Francis suggests that, when we find a Bible passage that appeals to us, we ask ourselves what it is about the passage that attracts us. This one appeals to me because I see my relationship with God as a love affair. As I meditate on God as Love who knows me and loves me, I think back to my earliest years when I was attracted to God and to the things of religion. Through the years after that in my teens and twenties, God continued to attract me in ways that I can describe as seduction. I know full well that I made a clear decision to let myself be seduced by God. Jeremiah goes on to say "You have overpowered me: you were the stronger."
I never suffered as Jeremiah did for what God expected him to preach, but I was criticized for demonstrating against racial discrimination and the Vietnam War and, more recently, for taking moral positions that were unpopular. Jeremiah says, "I would say to myself, 'I will not think about him, I will not speak in his name anymore,' but there seemed to be a fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones. The effort to restrain it wearied me. I could resist."
Letting ourselves be seduced by God's overwhelming love for us does bring us bliss, but it also brings us pain.