Temperature in the room

I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!” Those are Jesus’ words from the gospel but it is not hard to imagine those same words coming from the prophet Jeremiah. He had begun his public ministry during the heyday of the religious reforms of the good King Josiah. It was the best of times. The people were being taught the Word of God and right worship – and Jeremiah was on the vanguard of the reforms. Then King Josiah died in battle and everything changed. Continue reading

Having a bad day

In today’s first reading, Jeremiah is having a bad day – maybe a bad year. He is at the end of his rope in dealing with the people of Judah and Jerusalem in his role of prophet. Jeremiah was not a flash-in-the-pan prophet who showed up like Jonah in Nineveh and everything got done in one day. Jeremiah’s ministry lasted 30 years and was ultimately unsuccessful. Jerusalem did not return to the ways of the Lord and as a result God allowed Babylon to utterly destroy Jerusalem, the Temple and take the people into captivity. Continue reading

Eternal

Before a baby is born, they are such a wonderful mystery. Though we can get a “peek” at them through ultrasound images, hear their heartbeat with a doppler, and speculate about what they might look like by forming a composite in our imaginations of their mom and dad’s features, we can’t really know them until they are born. And even then, though we may have dreams about what they could do and who they could be, we can’t accurately predict their futures. Continue reading

Remembering the fire

“You duped me, O LORD, and I let myself be duped” Wow…strong words from the prophet Jeremiah.  Duped, tricked, suckered, fooled, hoodwinked.  No one likes to be the unwitting tool in another’s hands, the butt of a joke, or play the part of the fool.  Not too many people are keen to say they were Bernie Maddoff’s friend.  I am sure his investors look back, knowing their money is forever gone, and think, “How could I have been duped like that?” No one likes such moments.  Jeremiah doesn’t like it at all and cries out against the circumstances.

God called Jeremiah to be the prophet and Jeremiah answered –twice!  No doubt those were heady days – to be so connected to the Lord, called to do his work, and now…. And now.  Where was God when I was ridiculed, ignored – when people scorned and laughed at me.  Maybe God is weak and I was duped into thinking otherwise.  Ok, call me once to be prophet – shame on you.  Call me twice – shame on me if I answer. This is why Jeremiah says to himself: “I will not mention him, I will speak in his name no more.” This has the passion and the sound of an argument between lovers! Continue reading

Temperature, change and grace

I have two words for you this morning: “thermometer” and “thermostat.” Regular, routine, and household words we rarely give a second thought to: “thermometer” and “thermostat.”

I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!” Those are Jesus’ words from the gospel. They well could have been the prophet Jeremiah’s from the first reading. Jeremiah began his public ministry in the streets of Jerusalem when the good King Josiah was instituting religious reforms to bring the tribes of Judah and Israel back into covenant with God. It was the best of times. The people were being taught the Word of God and right worship – and Jeremiah was on the vanguard of the reforms. And so, it was for about 10 years. King Josiah died in battle and everything changed. Continue reading

Hoodwinked

“You duped me, O LORD, and I let myself be duped” Wow…strong words from the prophet Jeremiah.  Duped, tricked, suckered, fooled, hoodwinked.  No one likes to be the unwitting tool in another’s hands, the butt of a joke, or play the part of the fool.  Not too many people are keen to say they were Bernie Maddoff’s friend.  I am sure his investors look back, knowing their money is forever gone, and think, “How could I have been duped like that?” No one likes such moments.  Jeremiah doesn’t like it at all and cries out against the circumstances.   Continue reading