|Jeremiah lamenting over the destruction of Jerusalem. Photo: Rembrandt|
As in the time of Jeremiah a great calamity is coming upon us, and I believe it is coming upon us because we have turned away from the living God. We are idolatrous as a civilisation and society and we are unjust as a civilisation and society. So, for exactly the same reasons that Jeremiah criticises his community and foretells destruction, I believe that we too stand under the same judgement. Just as Jeremiah saw the armies surrounding Jerusalem, so too can we see the parameters of our own unavoidable crisis.
We in the West do not face a direct equivalent of a Babylonian army camped outside of our gates; nor do we enjoy the direct presence of the Lord in the temple of Jerusalem. Our idolatries are different – yet our predicament is equally grave. A great calamity is coming upon our civilisation, a calamity that has been foretold and warned against for at least two generations, and those warnings have been ignored. We too have enjoyed the comforts of an idolatrous society and allowed injustice to flourish unchecked. We have now left behind the time of decisions and have entered the time of consequences.
“Unavoidable” is a strong word. I do see calamity as unavoidable. As a man I am by temperament very optimistic and I believe in the grace and unearned mercy of God. Yet the more I explore the reasons why calamity is upon us, and the more I consider our current political arrangements, the state of the churches and what the church spends its time arguing about, the more I understand why people have not heard in time. There have been sufficient signs of what is coming for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, but still most people, including most Christians, have not learned to read the writing on the wall. - Sam Norton