Watching the machinations of the candidate for Speaker of the House has been nothing short of painful. Fr. Richard Rohr drew my attention to Jeremiah 12:5 this morning. While the new Speaker is no prophet and could not stand in the same room with Jeremiah, the words sound like a challenge to anyone who would become the leader of such an unruly and chaotic body as the House appears to be.
Then the Voice of the Holy challenged him: “If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses? And if in a safe land you fall down, how will you do in the jungle of the Jordan?” (Jeremiah 12:5) Jeremiah listened and heard and responded.
Regrettably, the new Speaker does not hear or listen to the challenge to live courageously in the face of the manipulative chaos that surrounds him.
Fr. Rohr introduces me to Biochemist Erwin Chargaff [1905–2022] who updates the questions: “What do you want to achieve? Greater riches? Cheaper chicken? A happier life, a longer life? Is it power over your neighbors that you are after? Are you only running away from your death? Or are you seeking greater wisdom, deeper piety?” 
My hunch is that our politicians probably don’t keep company with Jeremiah or if they brush up against him they back away pretty quickly. The pursuit of power in politics is so often a running away from a certain kind of death. It does not appear to be a search for deeper wisdom and piety.
So it is left to us to listen and hear what happens in Jeremiah's relationship with The Holy.
Rev. Eugene Peterson imagines the conversation between God and prophet:
I confess to a deep and weary fatigue with the “crowd of apathetic mediocrities.” The choice to live quietly, perhaps cautiously, is so seductive. The call and the challenge to “pursue righteousness, to sustain a drive toward excellence” is exhausting at times in the face of the relentlessness of the opposition. But Jeremiah hovers in the wings.
So, on a gray and cold rainy day in early January, there’s the challenge - do I mentally and emotionally and intellectually crawl under a warm and wooly afghan with a good book - - or “tack up” and get on the horse?
 Erwin Chargaff, Heraclitean Fire: Sketches from a Life before Nature (New York: Rockefeller University Press, 1978), 122.
 Eugene H. Peterson, Run with the Horses: The Quest for Life at Its Best (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1983), 16, 17–19.