Sunday Reflection: Jeremiah 4:11-12 and 22-28 and Luke 15:1-10

It’s now the third week of Jeremiah readings and we are almost at the half way mark of our Jeremiah venture. Again, the reading is rich in child metaphor, but the twist in this week’s reading is that unlike the previous weeks, which using Berryman’s classification of high and low images of children, see’s the first use of a “low” view of the child[1]. The child metaphor in Verse 22, of “stupid children with no understanding” seems at a strong contrast to the views expressed over the last fortnight. So how can we make sense of this seeming contradiction of the view of children as metaphor.

Let me back track a little, and say that as a class project a few years ago we had to find all the high and low versions of children in the Bible and they were surprisingly evenly distributed. In today’s reading, this seeming contradiction only serves to reminded me not to idolise children. Not to raise the idea of childhood and children beyond its limits, to always remind myself that children can be viewed in either a High or low view and that I choose to validate the high view of children but never to the point of objectification. Bungee in her Introduction in The Child in The Bible[2], gives a more nuanced overview of the Biblical views of the child in the whole Bible and I offer it to you as a worthy read, her response during the Houston Consultation on Child Theology in 2004, gives 6 views of Children in the Bible. And in today’s Jeremiah reading we would easily classify the use of the metaphor here as enhancing our models of faith, in this case what not to do.


During the week I participated in the pre Story Conference webinar, during which I attended the break out room given by a David Newman who deals with suicidal and depressive youth. He was discussing a form of therapy based on story to elevate other aspects of a person’s story from the prime depressive or suicidal one. This reminder of the importance of story to improving our mental health was significant as I prepared this week’s blog on the RCL readings, and my heart went, “oh no here we go again with the Good Shepherd story! How do I bring that to children who are hearing it for the first time and to their parents who have heard it ad nauseum. The reminder as to why story is so important to our faith life helped me. These stories, link us with past and future beyond our personal story. This was a reminder as we reread the Good Shepherd story, and its corresponding lost coin parable in today’s Lukian reading. It encouraged me to keep telling our faith stories not just to the young but to ourselves.


Wendy L.



[1]Berryman, Jerome, Children and the Theologians, (2009, Morehouse Publishing, NY)


[2]Bungee, Marcia, (Ed) with Terence E. Fretheim and Beverly Roberts Gavanta (Co.Eds), The Child in the Bible, (2008, William B Erdmanns Publishing Company, Grand Rapids)


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