Good morning friends! I mentioned this a little the other day but I want to say it again because I’ve heard a few people mention it as well. I love how the hope of Jeremiah coincides with the hope that spring brings - at the time of this writing it’s 55 and sunny outside and for the first time in probably four months I’ve been able to sit outside drinking a cup of hot tea and write breathing In fresh air and feeling the warmth of the sun. When Jeremiah (and by extension God) speaks of hope and promises in today’s reading - I actually felt it! I hope that you have had a lovely day and were able to sneak some time enjoying the sunshine on a walk, working in your gardens, or any other way!
Scripture to Read
~ Estimated time to read: 20 minutes
Questions to Consider
What does this teach me about God?
What does this teach me about humanity?
What does this teach me about the relationship between the two?
How does this either change or reinforce my belief about the role of the prophet?
- My Thoughts -
Over the course of today and tomorrow most of my thoughts are going to directed at King Jehoakim, but that’s because I’m somewhat who works in a “leadership” position and I most often aim most of my critcism and praise upon other “leaders.” Today and tomorrow will comfortably fall in the critical side haha. The story that inspired these thoughts is the final chapter of today’s reading, 36. Jeremiah dictates a letter to Baruch and Baruch goes and reads the letter to the king and he reacts with a mixture of arrogance and fear, an odd but not unfamiliar feeling for myself. The King cuts up the letter paragraph by paragraph as it’s read and burns the letter. Baruch reads again. The king burns more. I’ve always been nervous around leaders that aren’t constantly reading other peoples insights. Leaders that aren’t engaged in active listening, the constant pursuit of knowledge (whether random or directly applicable), and lately, leaders that dismiss science will not lead their countries, businesses, or families in the right direction. Sure, there are times to rely on your own strengths and to follow your gut reaction, but as an old mentor once told me, “We don’t go grocery shopping on an empty stomach, neither do we make a decision without first being fed.“ In other words, even a gut reaction should be informed by advisement. The best leaders (opinion) do not boast their own success but use their platform and influence to be a mirror to those that shaped and informed them. King Jehoakim, confident that nothing bad could happen, dismissed the words of Jeremiah.
If the first lesson of today’s reading for me is humility in leadership, the second is persistence in it as well.
Jeremiah probably could have called it a day if he knew that his ideas were not just ignored but destroyed. I know I’ve felt pretty deflated before when pitching ideas and they get shot down or shelved! But he doesn’t do that, does he? He immediately picks up the pen and begins to write again, and not just the same message but even more! Jeremiah allowed his persistence to achieve his goal go larger than a singular disappointment. I’m sure that’s a sermon that can preach to some of you today. What disappointments lately have shelved your ethusiam? How can Jeremiah’s persistence of a message of promised hope (given to us already in Jesus!) be the wind behind your sails this day to achieve your goals?
Our prayer for today is inspired by hymn 177 in our United Methodist Hymnal - He Is Lord. This is a great hymn to use for our prayer today, as it not only speaks to the final outcome of the Lenten season but it is also short allowing you to repeat it’s words over and over. Perhaps one time you’ll hum along, the next you might sing softly, and the third time you praise with the power that moves you. In any case, I hope you’ll take a few moments to make the Words of this hymn your prayer for today. (Lyrics in and below video)
He is Lord, he is Lord!
He is risen from the dead and he is Lord!
Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord.