Scripture Jeremiah 1:4,7b The word of the Lord came to me saying...You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you.
'The response of the disciple is an act of obedience...' writes Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his book Discipleship. But that isn't the full sentence. Bonhoeffer continues by stating, ' not a confession of faith in Jesus.' In the second chapter of James we find the same thought, 'faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.' Faith or trust in Christ was never meant to be merely an intellectual exercise. Faith and trust are not a matter of what we 'think' about Jesus alone. The faith that the life of Jesus inspires is the courage to live as Jesus lived, to carry on his actions in the world. This matter concerned Bonhoeffer because in Germany in the late 1930's he witnessed many who professed faith in Christ but were complacent in the face of unspeakable acts of cruelty and violence. Bonhoeffer's lectures on the Beatitudes from which today's quote comes, were meant to offer a warning against a faith which settled for confession without obedience.
Jeremiah, whose life we are exploring for the next weeks and months, experiences the call of obedience to God. The call isn't simply to confess that God exists, but to perform that belief by doing what God commands. Jeremiah was instructed to go wherever God told Jeremiah to go and to say whatever God told Jeremiah to say. Perhaps this view of God is a bit shocking. This is NOT a God who quietly and tenderly waits for us to call out for assistance when in a spot of trouble. This God is not an add on to one's life when it's convenient. This God actively observes the lives of the vulnerable and rejected and expects disciples to join Her in watching and responding to the world's hunger.
As we were introduced again to the life and times of Jeremiah on Sunday we learned what he was called to confront. The poor were ignored and the vulnerable abused. The leaders of Judah encouraged the worship of idols, placing trust in wealth, in power, & in violence to create security. Sorcerers and prostitutes were brought in to entertain distract the people from how far they were falling from being the people of justice and peace God intended. God's response is to choose Jeremiah to go and speak. Jeremiah and Bonhoeffer remind us bluntly that faith in Christ is much more than just another choice in self-improvement and personal actualization. It is nothing less than the demanding devotion to play our part in God's great plan to redeem a creation bent on destruction, blinded by gratifying diversions. Eugene Peterson makes this bold proclamation about the benefit of this demanding and risky path with God, 'It is these persons who are conscious of participating in what God is saying and doing that are most human and most alive.' We find our truest and best selves when we take this demanding first step with Jeremiah.
Prayer – Draw close to us Precious Lord, when our way grows drear. When we are baffled and cannot find our way take our hands and lead us. Teach us to trust in your path of mercy, forgiveness and hospitality when we don't know what else to do. Draw close when life is good and we believe that our plans have secured our safety and happiness. Rescue us from pride and lead us back to the narrow path of justice and righteousness. Show us how in being obedient to you, we actually discover our truest and best selves
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.