Monday, November 17, 2014

Looking Forward to November 23, 2014 -- Reign of Christ Sunday, Jeremiah

This week we have two selections from Jeremiah:  Jeremiah 1:4-10; 7:1-11

The Sermon title is From the Mouths of Babes...
Early Thoughts:  Called as a child, convinced he was too young, Jeremiah goes on to challenge the understanding of the house of God....

Now there is nothing in the text to tell us how young/old Jeremiah is when he stands in the gates of the temple and gives his sermon, challenging the listeners to rethink their understanding of God.  But in conjunction with his call story it is tempting to see a teenager standing there lambasting the adults.  After all it touches a favoured saying from Isaiah "and a little child shall lead them" (Isaiah 11:6) along with Jesus saying "Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." (Luke 18:17).  And there is something attractive about the idea that children/youth are sometimes (often??) wiser than their older neighbours.

Within the Jewish Scriptures there is a variance in the idea of God's protection.  One strand holds that the Promised Land belongs to the people for ever and ever amen.  And in that stream the fact that the House of God (the temple) stands in Jerusalem gives Jerusalem special protection.  Another stream holds that the gift of the land may be revoked if the people do not live up to their part of the covenant.  If the people fail to live as God would have them live then there will be consequences.  AS do most of the Prophets, Jeremiah here stands in the latter stream.

In some ways he is in the same place as Micah from a couple of weeks ago.  Micah points out what God wants is not sacrifices of rams but justice kindness and humility.  Jeremiah points out the hypocrisy of ignoring God's desires, of worshiping other Gods, and then standing in the temple calling on God to protect the nation.

This is the last Sunday of the Church Year.  As we prepare for Advent to begin, we pause to consider how the Kingdom is closer this year than it was a year ago.  Jeremiah suggests that if we live lives of justice then we will know that God is in our midst.  So where are we along the way (because the profession of Christian faith has always been that the Kingdom is already here and yet the full bloom of the Kingdom is still coming--the Now and the Not Yet.

Referring back to Jeremiah's call experience, what needs to be pulled down and plucked out so that the Kingdom will bloom?

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