Disclaimer: Jeremiah is not the touchy-feely Bible book or prophet. As one person summed up his message from God: "I will punish; I will restore." And in between, woe is every nation and individual who rejects God and "wontonly pursues wickedness."
So then, having been duly warned, let's think for a moment about the time that Jeremiah lived. He began his public ministry in 627 B.C. and he was a prophet for over 40 years. We know more about him and his time of prophecy than any other prophet in the Bible. And during his time in the public eye they saw the downfall of the Assyrian Empire to the north, the death of the great Reformer King Josiah in the southern part of Israel, and the destruction of the Jews by the Babylonians who dragged many of their elite off to captivity in Babylon - the worst crisis in their history after becoming a Chosen People of God. As you can imagine, everyone was trying to make sense of this tumultuous time in their history. Jeremiah, known as the woeful complainer, who bemoaned the lack of faithfulness he saw in his people as well as the downfall of their way of life. And yet. Deep, deep, deep, deep, deep beneath his complaining and damning of them and their lack of faith, he offered a ray of hope. After all the understandable punishment that Jeremiah felt the people deserved, he also believed and preached about a God who would ultimately restore God's people. Jeremiah had a style that said you do it wrong and you will be punished. Not a whole lot of grace coming at them from this one. As a result Jeremiah is not often quoted or revered. He does have a beautiful set of verses in chapter 31 when he says that eventually...
...this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says God: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, "Know God," for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says God; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.
In today's reading of the 17th chapter of Jeremiah he also gives us a vision of what it looks like to trust in God. We shall be like the tree planted by water, sending out roots by the stream; and we shall not fear when heat comes, and our leaves shall stay green...
I'm not sure if it is much comfort for those of us today who seek to follow God. Does his style work for you? Does it inspire you to be your best and most faithful self?
We'll explore Jeremiah's perspective and theme in worship on Sunday. See you there!!
-Rev. Marlene W. Pomeroy
Also on Sunday:
will be led by Neva Orr/Roberta White this Sunday in our main office space on the 3rd floor - room 302 at the top of the stairs.
will meet from 9:30-10:25 in the Co-Pastors' office on the 3rd floor.
will meet from 12:40-1:45 in the Youth Lounge on the 2nd floor - follow Pastor Marlene after you grab a cup of coffee in the Fellowship Hall.
Bad Weather Shelter Meal
prep and serving from 6-9:30 p.m. See article below.
Monday Feb. 18th is a Federal Holiday.
The FUMC Church and our FCC offices will be closed.
Tues. Feb. 19th Council
will meet at 6:45 in our Main Office on the 3rd floor.
Saturday Feb. 16th is our next date to help unpack and stock the shelves at the Friends in Deed Food Pantry. Lu Nguyen (formerly Burd) is coordinating the list of folks. Please speak with her if you can attend from 9-11 a.m. We need 6-10 children and adults.
That evening the Lamplighter Group is attending the San Gabriel Lunar Celebration. See details below.
On Sunday Feb. 17th is our next Bad Weather Shelter date. Please sign up with Joey Bland if you can help out with setting up cots and preparing and serving food that evening. See article below.
Our Winter Business meeting will be held after worship on Sunday Feb. 24th starting at 12:30. Please plan to bring potluck food to drop off to the Fellowship Hall before worship so that Sallie can have the food ready for us.