I’m fairly certain we never studied the book of Baruch in OT, but as a reading for Advent 2c it is certainly apt. As we give thanks for the Prophets of old and the prophets of today we are given this glimpse into the good news that occasionally prophets were able to give.
Quit yer bitchin’! God loves you!
During what was, for all intents and purposes, the worst point in Israel’s history (I’m guessing it was written during the exile) the author has good news to share above the moaning and groaning of the people.
Shut up! God will restore you!
The job of the prophet is to turn people around. After the exile, it would seem, the people had once again turned to their own devices and desires. This time, instead of a golden calf, it was their own self pity that they worshiped. Wearing the garment of sorrow and affliction the people of Israel were content to sulk for all eternity, their strength was in their combined suffering. But Baruch had a different story.
“Take off the garment of your sorrow and affliction, O Jerusalem, and put on forever the beauty of the glory from God.”
Sitting in self-pity is not how God intended us to live our lives. We are called instead to see the splendor of our God who restores. We are called instead to wear the crown of glory that is exclusively of God. We are called to live into our name “Righteous Peace, Godly Glory”
It seems like it is rare when the prophet has the opportunity to share good news. Precisely because it is so rare, it seems we should all the more listen to it. “Shut up! Turn away from your own self-pity! Look at God! God will restore you! God loves you!”