Week 22 Friday

A People In Bondage

Today’s scripture selection: Jeremiah 47-52

Key verses: Jeremiah 52:27b


     I don’t know anyone, thankfully, who knows what it is to be literally in bondage.  The idea of slavery and exile – Babylonians swooping down on other nations and swallowing them whole – it’s the stuff of movies.

     But I do know some who have been in bondage in other ways – alcohol and other drugs; depression; broken relationships that felt like a prison sentence and more.  And I have known a few times of emotional and spiritual bondage as well.

     So when I turn to the scriptures, particularly the lamentations of a prophet like Jeremiah, I think about how sweet emotional and spiritual freedom is.

     We should never be too quick to rush through those passages of scripture that speak of slavery – literal or otherwise.

     We should never be so much in a hurry to reach the “comforting” passages about God’s love that we fail to ponder how deep the pain can be without it.

     Because that is when we begin to take God for granted.

     So, if today you and those you love can honestly say you are “free” – give thanks – God’s grace is no doubt part of that freedom.

     And if instead you are those you love feel trapped in some way – take comfort in the scriptures promises that even exile eventually comes to an end.

     It may seem a long way off and you may not know exactly know how or when it will come – but it will.

     God doesn’t forget His children, even those in exile.

     Prayer: Lord, thank you for remembering and calling me home.  AMEN.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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