““From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace. Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So, they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when I punish them,” says the Lord.” Jer. 6:13-15. (NIV)
“They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.” (RSV)
I have carried these words in my heart for decades, regarding the wounds which we have inflicted on each other. They remind me of a time when I was nursing in Belfast at the height of “the troubles,” when people were brought into our wards with wounds, caused by bomb blasts – jagged, open and dirty! They often required surgery – sticky plasters were insufficient – so that they could be thoroughly cleaned before they were sutured. If this was not done, they were susceptible to getting an infection in the wound. Care was taken, antibiotics given, wound dressed, kept clean, while it healed! It reminds me of an image God gave me years ago regarding the border dividing our island – it was a long, jagged, dirty wound, sutured but infected and not healing!
Jeremiah is speaking of his nations spiritual wound, which it’s spiritual leaders were treating “As though it was not serious.” If we do not understand the spiritual nature of what is happening in Ireland – what the principalities and powers are actively doing – we can be guilty of the same! This coming year we are again faced with our national/cultural divisions, with the 100th anniversary of Partition. One group is gearing up to celebrate it; the other does not even want to recognise it! In a real sense – the wounds continue to cry out!
Lord, You are the divine surgeon, may Your Spirit and Your Word be like a scalpel into the depth of our wounds! We pray for the deep healing of the wounds of history, for the division within Your wounded Body and for the ways we have embraced nationalistic spirits.This is not a time for sticky plasters but for deep surgery, for the cleansing power of repentance and reconciliation – we need You Lord! We pray that, for ourselves and for Your church at this time. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.