Hello friends! Today we finish the book of the prophet Jeremiah! Woo! Another big book down! You all are doing wonderful. Just a reminder that tomorrow we will meet again for another live reading of the Bible together. I'll send that information as an email tomorrow to those that have participated in the past as well as put a link to it in tomorrow mornings reading. As you finish Jeremiah today try to write down 3 things you've learned or appreciated about this book and give thanks to God for those.
Scripture to Read
Questions to Consider
What does this teach me about God?
What does this teach me about humanity?
What is the concluding "point" of the book of Jeremiah?
- My Thoughts -
Jeremiah is a potent book with so much to consider. It has strong lessons of discipline, hope, and the starkest reality of life that can be bleak with glimmers of good. As we come to the end of today I have 2 thoughts on it.
The chapter begins with Jeremiah giving his writings to a dude named Seriah and tells him to walk into the courts of Babylon and read them aloud. I know Jeremiah went through a lot of effort writing all that down, but can we give some credit to my dude Seriah who has to walk into the courts of his captors and give them the message that God is coming to destroy them? He probably walked out with a few bruises to say the least. But there is a faithful story in this too because it's very similar to the call that God gave Jonah about going to Ninevah. So if that call wasn't unique to Jonah, then it probably didn't end with Seriah either. How is God calling you to do something that is uncomfortable (at best) but necessary in the long run?
I still struggle with the idea of a God of vengeance even if I have invoked that very God at times. When I think about 9/11 I recall all of the prayers that were lifted up over the course of that year for "God to strike at our enemies" Yet, in the same week we might sing the song "O God of all the Nations" without a second thought in the world. Does God not view people of the Middle East with the same love and pride as God does us? How is leveling the World Trade Center killing 3000 people any different than the number of times we have carpet bombed an entire city killing innocents as well? If we want God to strike vengeance at those we are in conflict with we better be ready for God to smite us as well. It's for these reasons that the Christian church has largely had a strong anti-war stance. Not only does it help promote tolerance between other nations and uphold the commandment to do not harm, but it also helps prevent Christian Nationalism that upholds that God holds our country above other ones. But now I find myself in an awkward situation because God clearly loved Israel more than anyone else as God was actively ready to blow other countries up in retaliation for what they did to Jerusalem. Or....was this the prophet Jeremiah putting words in God's mouth? Do we or our leaders do the same when they invoke God's name to get a law passed? Christian nationalism can often be extremely subtle...but as we all know it's the enemy we cannot see that is the most dangerous.
Our prayer today is inspired by hymn 182 in our United Methodist Hymnal - Word of God, Come Down to Earth. oooo a SOLID incarnation hymn. Nice! I hope you'll take a moment to lift up this song in an act of prayer by meditation, word, or vocal praise!
Word of God, come down on earth, living rain from heaven descending; touch our hearts and bring to birth faith and hope and love unending. Word almighty we revere you; Word made flesh, we long to hear you.
Word eternal, throned on high, Word that brought to life creation, Word that came from heaven to die, crucified for our salvation, saving Word, the world restoring, speak to us, your love outpouring.
Word that caused blind eyes to see, speak and heal our mortal blindness; deaf we are: our healer be; loose our tongues to tell your kindness. Be our Word in pity spoken; heal the world, by our sin broken.
Word that speaks your Father’s love, one with him beyond all telling, Word that sends us from above God the Spirit, with us dwelling, Word of truth, to all truth lead us, Word of life, with one Bread feed us.