Jeremiah

The Inner Voice

Jiminy Cricket acts as a conscience for Pinocchio — does the Holy Spirit do the same for us? Pinocchio was written over a hundred years ago as a morality tale. Children were to be read Pinocchio so that they would know not to rebel, disobey, or lie. Disney toned down the rascally nature of the puppet and added Jiminy Cricket to keep the story from being too sad. Many people today are living the original version of the story, which doesn’t end well for the puppet (in the Italian version he is hung). All of us need an inner voice to guide us. Don’t swat away that cricket.

    In Jeremiah 31, the prophet who has been weeping for God’s people because they are about to pay the price for their sin and go into exile, looks ahead to a better time. Long after the prophet is gone, God will forgive his people. They will be restored. They will return to Palestine and once again live as a free people. This will be the Old Testament’s second Exodus. The second time in which God will reclaim his people after a period of imprisonment. On this trip back, however, God himself will be their Moses. They won’t have to stop half-way through the wilderness to pick up the Ten Commandments, for God will set his law within each person. Jeremiah sees the Disney version, complete with Jiminy Cricket.

Sunday, October 16, 2016
Proper 24

Seek the Welfare of the City

Here’s a bottom row Jeopardy clue for you; “EXILED FOR 70 YEARS.”  The answer is “What is Babylonian Captivity?”  Most church goers would miss this basic question. Yet this was one of the pivotal events of the Old Testament. In 586 BC, Jerusalem was sacked, the temple of Solomon destroyed, and the people of God carted off to Babylon. It’s what makes Jeremiah weep the book of Lamentations. At this critical time our faith was nearly defeated. Not destroyed by a military loss to Nebuchadnezzar, but drained by a loss of heart. The people went into Babylon and hung up their harps on the willows, saying we can’t worship or sing the songs of God in foreign land (Psalm 137). If God’s people stop worshiping, the faith dies.

 

All transitions are painful. In the great changes of life, it is common for us to say, “I’ve lost my faith.” Yet transitions are essential. In Babylon, much of the Old Testament is transferred from oral tradition into written word. New concepts about the universality of God were developed. The Advent passages of Isaiah, that Handel set to music in his Messiah, were written for later generations to sing. 

 

Sunday, October 13, 2013
Proper 23
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