A Righteous Branch
The days are surely coming, says God, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. – Jeremiah 33:14-15 (NRSV)
Every week in staff meeting, our sexton updates us on the replacement tree the city has promised us for the easement in front of the church. A storm blew through last summer and cracked the old oak in two. A couple weeks later, the Bureau of Forestry finished the job.
The stump showed well over a hundred rings. Then they ground that down too. No hope of a shoot springing up spontaneously.
So our sexton keeps us updated. Every week. And every week the update is: still waiting.
It doesn’t matter that it’s been over a year with no change. It doesn’t matter when I say, “We’ve got a lot to cover today.” It doesn’t matter when I get snippy and insist, “I think everyone is aware of the situation!”
He keeps it on the agenda.
Like those who persist in the cause of righteousness and justice. The ones who sound the alarm. The ones who point to what is missing, what has been destroyed. The ones who won’t let it drop. Even though it makes things awkward. Even though people get snippy. Even though there has been no change and everyone is aware of the situation.
Because everyone is aware of the situation and there has been no change.
They keep it on the agenda. Every week. Every day. They hold to the promises they have been made.
Righteous One, keep your promises.
Vince Amlin is co-pastor of Bethany UCC, Chicago, and co-planter of Gilead Church Chicago, forming now.