The Second Sunday in Lent, February 24, 2013
Morning Psalms: 24, 29 | Evening Psalms: 8, 84
Jeremiah 1:1-10 | 1 Corinthians 3:11-23 | Mark 3:31-4:9
Early in my ordained ministry I saved these words from an article in Christianity Today: “May I offer some advice? Get better acquainted with Jeremiah…Why? From him we can learn how to steadfastly serve God in a time of crisis, in a time of decadence and corruption, in a time of greed and stupidity, in a time when violence and vice seem to undermine society everywhere” (Vernon Grounds, “Getting Into Shape Spiritually,” 2 February 1979). The best place to start getting better acquainted with this great prophet is by reading and reflecting on his call in chapter one.
First, Jeremiah was picked out by the Lord. He was called to be a prophet in
627 BC while still a very young man, but God’s selection and preparation of him happened before he was even conceived and born—in his DNA, in his family of origin, and in the very history of Israel. Jeremiah began his work as prophet knowing that what he did was a gift from God, not a career of his own making (egotism) or an arbitrary activity without ultimate meaning (nihilism). Do you believe that the Lord appointed you and consecrated you for what you are doing now? Have you been picked out by the Lord?
Second, Jeremiah was picked up by the Lord. His response to God’s call was to focus on his inadequacies and fears: he did not know how to speak in public, he was too young. The Lord replied by promising to go with him and to give him the words to say. One of the things that I have learned is that if we feel adequate in ourselves to do something, it may not be God’s call for us. On the other hand, if we feel inadequate and somewhat fearful, then God may be in it. Is the Lord calling you to do something beyond your capabilities? Do you believe he will pick you up and give you what you need to accomplish his work?
Third, Jeremiah was picked on by the Lord’s people. After selecting and strengthening Jeremiah for his work as prophet, God warned him that this task will be difficult and his audience hostile. But he should not—he must not—shrink from speaking the truth, even though it is flung back in his face. Over time he learned the lesson that today’s prophets must also learn: the real effectiveness of our preaching, leading, or evangelizing often has little to do with the responses we get. Do you normally measure your worth and effectiveness by the response of others? Are you getting picked on for doing and saying that which the Lord has commanded you?
The Rev. David Montzingo (DMin 2011)
Holy Spirit Anglican Church
San Diego, CA
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