2015 Lent 11

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Jeremiah 1

What would it be like to be called as a prophet?

Today we meet Jeremiah.  We’ve left Moses and the Israelites on the threshold of the Promised Land.  Now, enter this lone figure, called to be God’s prophet, to proclaim to the Israelites that they have in fact forsaken their God.  Jeremiah’s task is to confront the nation, to remind them of Moses’ words, to point out that they’ve broken their promises to God, and to proclaim that sure and certain destruction will come upon them from the north, like a vast stockpot of boiling water poured out to flood and scald them all.

Not a great job description!

I don’t know about you, but if it became clear to me that I’d have to stand tall against the powers that be AND the angry mob known throughout history as the people–myself against the world, literally (and I don’t use this word lightly like so many others seem to today)–I’d start looking for a way out.  I’d outfit my motorcycle with a tankbag, a windscreen, saddlebags, and a Dryspec stackable luggage system; and maybe a GPS unit; certainly a few good books; pack a tent, sleeping bag, pots and pans, a cooking stove, and whatever else I needed, and I’d ride into the wildernesses of Mexico and hide out until the storm will have passed.  Or at least I imagine that’s what I’d do.

Actually, that’s probably what I would have done if I’d received such a challenging call in my early twenties, back when I was single and my biggest obligation was making it to class on time and meeting a few deadlines here and there for papers and tests.  But today’s different.  Today my responsibilities are much more significant and profound.

So, on second thought, if I were to find myself suddenly confronted by seemingly impossible obstacles, as Jeremiah found himself, I’d have no choice but to face these obstacles, to endure them no matter the hardship.  People I love dearly are depending on me, just as I depend on those who love me.  Much as I may daydream about a lengthy motorcycle hermitage, then (which is really no more than to daydream of escape), the path of love–the path to which Jesus has called me–puts others before myself; puts God before all.  The path of love does not seek to escape but to endure.

Maybe this is how Jeremiah saw it.

Whatever the case, Jeremiah did not do as Jonah did, who ran away from God’s call.  Instead, he did what God commanded.  He faced his opponents, stood tall, and endured.  In the end he came through it, honored by God and remembered by us today.

And I like to think (though the Bible nowhere says this) that he enjoyed a lengthy wilderness motorcycle hermitage during retirement.

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2 Responses to “2015 Lent 11”

  1. Tim, I agree with your retirement sentiment, although he had probably supped too often at the heavenly table to have had much appetite for the things I desire. Love, Jeff

    • I don’t know, man. I sup every Sunday and it doesn’t make my glasses any rosier. If anything, the motorcycle daydreams become stronger and more frequent. By the way, did you know the Episcopal Church has a mandatory retirement age? 72.

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