Thursday, August 12, 2010

August 12, 2010: Jeremiah 20: 7-13

August 12

“Sing to the Lord; praise the Lord! For he has delivered the life of the needy from the hands of evildoers.”

Jeremiah, the prophet who wanted to do anything but be a prophet, cries out to God in this prayer.  He does what he knows God calls him to do and yet all he seems to get is grief.  His message to the people is not a “happy happy” church sermon that so many think they should get EVERY Sunday.  His words and warnings are harsh and dire - people do not want to hear that stuff.  Even though you hear the underlying, “No Fair God” in his talk, you also hear that he will not give up.
Each one of us, through our baptism, is called to follow God in Christ.  We, as Christians claimed by God, are the ones who are supposed to speak out against oppression and injustice and to try to set things right.  We are the ones who have to warn our friends, family, and neighbors that their self-destructive or anti-social behavior is going to have real and unwelcome consequences. We plead with them that there is a better way, albeit a way that is counter cultural these days. The way of Christ.  And what do we get in return? “Mind your own business,” or worse.  And when they do fall into their own pit, we are wracked with despair, and if we admit it, sometimes a little “I told you so.”
And yet, as in much of the book of Jeremiah, after Jeremiah has a good rant, he ends this passage with “Sing to the Lord; praise the Lord! For he has delivered the life of the needy from the hands of the evildoers.”  Despite his own discomfort, Jeremiah has deep faith that God will lead him and call him in right directions.  He is convinced even in his complaining that God is to be praised.
We are called to places we do not want to go sometimes.  We are called to do or say that which is not popular, and in return, our friends, family, and others mock us or turn from us.  But we must remember, as did Jeremiah, that God is to be praised.  And sometimes, sometimes those we are called to reach out to, hear us and follow God.  For that one, we must keep singing praise to the Lord!
Mysterious One, you call us to follow the path of Jesus.  To care for the least of these, those without power or voice, who may even be ourselves.  We get discouraged.  We think if things stay the way they are and we ignore the rest, we will be fine.  Or at least we will not be harassed as much.  God, give us courage.  God, give us vision.  God, give us a voice to praise you even when, as Jeremiah says, “I have become a laughing stock all day long; everyone mocks me.”  Make us instruments of your love.  Amen.

--Maggie Sebastian

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