Saturday 31 July 2010

Bible Book:

"It is the Lord who sent me to prophesy against this house and this city all the words you have heard." (v.12)

Jeremiah 26:11-24 Saturday 31 July 2010


By preaching against the rituals and teachings of the Temple,the prophet Jeremiah has stirred up something of a hornets' nest.The priests demand the death penalty and the listening crowds havebecome a mob. But, as the officials of Judah arrive to bring orderand resolution to the situation, it becomes clear that Jeremiah hasstirred up memories also.

Jeremiah asserts the primacy of God's inspiration for all he hassaid, leading the jury of officials to recall the fates of earlierprophets critical of the establishment and of corporate deafness toGod's guidance for holy living. They speak of Micah, who was spared(bequeathing to us a biblical book in his name), and Uriah ofKiriath-jearim, who was not.

On this occasion Jeremiah is fortunate. It would appear that he hasfriends in high places for he is released. His future, however,seems blighted. His message will be ignored by king and country,and eventually Jeremiah himself will be sent into exile.

But there is a twist in this tale. Now persona non grata at theTemple, Jeremiah remains concerned that the word of God shouldstill be broadcast. At God's behest (chapter 36), he dictates to his friend Baruch ascroll, recording all his prophecies, and sends Baruch off to theTemple to read it out. This time, King Jehoiakim is outraged, aswell as the priests, and the scroll is destroyed.

Undeterred, Jeremiah has Baruch re-write the whole document and itis this second scroll that we presume provided the core materialfor the book of Jeremiah that we still read. It has been added to,and embellished by the words of other prophets and teachers, butsurely this is proof not only that God's word is irrepressible butthat it is continually refreshed by each succeeding generation whofind it to be as relevant in new contexts as it was inJeremiah's.

To Ponder

Do you have rituals or traditions in your familythat help you to pass on God's word from one generation to thenext? How do they help?

When fewer people have a close connection withChristian life and faith, how do we ensure that God's word is madepresent for them in ways that are relevant to their everydaylives?

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