October 17, 2013
Written by Steven Liechty

Donna Schaper

"But as for me I am in your hands." - Jeremiah 26:14

Jeremiah is in trouble with the authorities and they are about to kill him.  He is awfully placid about it.  He simply tells them that if they do kill him, more than blood will be on their hands.  They will also have violated God and "The Way." They will have an ontological issue.

"Ontological" is way too big a word for a devotional.  And yet, we reach for its meaning here all the time, posting another attempt daily about 4 a.m. EST.  Ontological comes from the word "Ontos," meaning the way things are meant to be at their core.   Sometimes we violate creation or Ontos by littering.  Sometimes we violate our own authority by bowing down to false authorities or peers that pressure.  Sometimes we become afraid of death as though we were not God's, and here we also violate Ontos.

It is not small to be in trouble with Ontos.  It is big – and causes no end of troubles.  When you miss the path, it is worse than missing the train.  When you are genuinely stressed by the authorities, as opposed to being stressed about Ontos, you are in the wrong hands.


Keep us in our own hands or your hands or both, O God.  And teach us how to spell "ontological" but not to brag about it.  Teach us to whisper Ontos.  Amen.

About the Author
Donna Schaper is Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Her latest book is Grace at Table: Small Spiritual Solutions to Large Material Problems.

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