Searching for a Vengeful God

By Amy Norton
August 31, 2017 - 1:21pm

Ever hear of the German term “schadenfreude”? It describes the sense of satisfaction or pleasure many of us feel at hearing of the misfortune of others (particularly of those whom we don’t like). “Well that’s karma for ya,” many of us will say to ourselves. But what about the opposite of schadenfreude? What about the sense of despair we feel when ‘bad people’ go unpunished? When karma seems to be taking the day off?

Most of us are familiar with the verse in Samuel, “'Vengeance is mine,' says the Lord”, but what about when that vengeance isn’t carried out? How do we deal with our frustration when folks who enact injustice, cruelty, and violence seem to escape facing any consequences?

Jeremiah, the 'weeping prophet', was quite familiar with this frustration. In our scripture reading for this Sunday, we hear about how his own people are persecuting him and he just wants God to do something about it! God’s reply to Jeremiah isn’t exactly what he expected or hoped for, however. It’s challenging and comforting all at once, in the way that the divine often is.

Join us for worship this morning in Willett at 10am, and we’ll vent, lament, learn, and grow together as we step into Jeremiah’s shoes and explore what it means for us when prayers for retribution are met with an unexpected reply.