Jeremiah, His Rescuer and Jesus

20th Sunday, Jer 38:4-6, 8-10 The vivid image of Jeremiah plopping ignominiously into the cistern of Prince Malchiah generates a pair of insights for me. First, the courage of the person who rescued him. The man’s name is not given and perhaps he was called "Ebed-Melek," which is "Servant (or slave) of the King," much the way women in service were called "Cook," if that is what they did and who they were in the view of those who employed them. In the tension and danger of a court bitterly divided over the efforts of the king to avoid capitulating to Babylon and those of Jeremiah to face the inevitability of defeat, this servant saved the life of a man out of favor with his boss: So a righteous Gentile. Second, I am reminded of Andrea del Sarto’s Cristo in pietà (ca. 1514-20, in Florence’s Galleria dell’Accademia, where Michelangelo’s David looms strong, beautiful and masterful): Between being mocked and crucified, Jesus sits, resting for a moment, stripped but for a red wrap, abject, alone, infinitely sad and yet somehow serene. Three studies in nonviolence: Jeremiah, his rescuer, Jesus. Barbara Green, OP

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