Week of Proper 11: Wednesday, Year 2   11 comments

Above:  The Prophet Jeremiah, According to Michelangelo Buonarroti

A Bearer of Bad News

JULY 25, 2018

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Jeremiah 1:1-10 (TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures):

The words of Jeremiah, son of Hilkiah, one of the priests at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin.  The word of the LORD came to him in the days of King Josiah son of Amon of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign, and throughout the days of Jehoiakim son of Josiah of Judah, and until the end of the eleventh year of King Zedekiah son of Josiah son of Judah, when Jerusalem went into exile in the fifth month.

The word of the LORD came to me:

Before I created you in the womb, I selected you;

Before you were born, I consecrated you;

I appointed you a prophet concerning the nations.

I replied:

Ah, Lord GOD!

I don’t know how to speak,

For I am still a boy.

And the LORD said to me:

Do not say, “I am still a boy,”

But go wherever I send you

And speak whatever I command you.

Have no fear of them,

For I am with you to deliver them

–declares the LORD.

The LORD put out His hand and touched my mouth, and the LORD said to me:

Herewith I put My words into your mouth.

See, I appoint you this day

Over nations and kingdoms:

To uproot and to pull down,

To destroy and to overthrow,

To build and to plant.

Psalm 71:1-6, 15-17 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

1  In you, O LORD, have I taken refuge;

let me never be ashamed.

2  In your righteousness, deliver me and set me free;

incline your ear to me and save me.

3  Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe;

you are my crag and my stronghold.

4  Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked,

from the clutches of the evildoer and the oppressor.

5  For you are my hope, O Lord GOD,

my confidence since I was young.

6  I have been sustained by you ever since I was born;

from my mother’s womb you have been my strength;

my praise shall be always of you.

15  My mouth shall recount your mighty acts

and saving deeds all the day long;

though I cannot know the number of them.

16  I will begin with the mighty works of the Lord GOD;

I will recall your righteousness, yours alone.

17  O God, you have taught me since I was young,

and to this day I tell of your wonderful works.

Matthew 13:1-9 (An American Translation):

That same day Jesus went out of his house and was sitting on the seashore.  And such great crowds gathered about him that he got into a boat and sat down in it, while all the people stood on the shore.  And he told them many things in figures, and said to them,

A sower went to sow, and as he was sowing, some of the seed fell by the path and the birds came and ate it up, and some fell on rocky ground where there was not much soil and it sprang up at once, because the soil was not deep, but when the sun came up it was scorched and withered up, because it had no root.  And some of it fell among the thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it out.  And some fell on good soil, and yielded some a hundred, some sixty, and some thirty-fold.  Let him who has ears listen!

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The Collect:

Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, you know our necessities before we ask and our ignorance in asking: Have compassion on our weakness, and mercifully give us those things which for our unworthiness we dare not, and for our blindness we cannot ask; through the worthiness of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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A Related Post:

Week of Proper 11:  Wednesday, Year 1:

https://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/01/04/week-of-proper-11-wednesday-year-1/

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Jeremiah was the anti-Moses.  Moses led his people out of bondage in Egypt, into the wilderness, and toward the Promised Land.  Yet Jeremiah proclaimed that very soon there would occur an exile from that Promised Land.  And he had to flee to Egypt, where he most likely died.  Like Moses, Jeremiah protested that he was unqualified.  In each case God overrode that claim with an assurance of the divine presence.  No, Jeremiah was not qualified.  Neither was Moses.  One could make the same case for Isaiah.  But God does not call the qualified; God qualifies the called.

In Jeremiah’s case, God qualified him to utter some foreboding decrees.  This was difficult, dangerous, and unpopular work.  The call of God took quite a toll on the weeping prophet.  Sometimes suffering results from obedience, not disobedience to God.

This post is the first in which I will follow the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah via the adapted Canadian Anglican lectionary in the U.S. Episcopal Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints.  I invite you, O reader, to join me in this journey.  There will be much uncomfortable content to consider.  One lesson I have learned over years of reading, studying, and pondering the Bible is this:  There is a plethora of uncomfortable material there.

There is an old, perhaps apocryphal story about a woman who spent much of her time on the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) lecture circuit before the ratification of the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  She visited one town, where she delivered her standard speech abut the evils of alcohol.  God wants us to avoid alcoholic beverages completely, she said.  After the speaker had completed her prepared remarks, she asked if anyone had any questions. A young man, who had listened quietly and politely, raised his hand.  She called on him.

If what you say is true,

he asked,

how do you explain Jesus turning water into wine?

The speaker replied,

I would like him better if he had not done that.

One might have the same feeling about God in subsequent chapters of Jeremiah.  If so, I ask you, O reader, to confront that discomfort head-on, not to dismiss it flippantly.  Turn that discomfort into an opportunity to deepen your spirituality.

KRT

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Posted September 22, 2011 by neatnik2009 in 2018, Canadian Anglican Lectionary Year 2, July

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