Stage 5: Jeremiah’s Cracked Pots, part 1
We’re back on more comfortable ground this week. Here we have the promise of presence. Supposedly, John Wesley’s final words were “best thing of all, God is with us.” We love to celebrate that God is with us and we are not alone. That is a powerful message at any time of the year.
Jeremiah knows intimately about the presence of God. In fact, truth be told, if you keep reading in the book, presence can be a burden to bear. Jeremiah struggled with it. God seemed to want to direct all his steps, not just the ones to church each week. God seemed to want to put all the words in his mouth, not just the ones he used to make prophecies.
So, the question for this week might be how much of your life are you really willing to surrender to God? We celebrate our independence in this country, perhaps to excess. Here is where faith runs counterculturally to that prevailing thought. We surrender ourselves to God. Yet God chooses to use the gifts that are within us to direct our paths. This means that God works with us, with the best in us, to help us fulfill our calling and our potential. Like Hosea and his desire to love us into wholeness, Jeremiah claims that God knows us into service and witness. God works within us to make us what we already are and to grow into what we will be.
We celebrate that partnership with God, our creator and our parent. Worship could find space for testimony about how God has given direction or commissioning. This might be a time for you, pastor, to share your call story if it has been a while. How does God speak to us? How do we know God’s direction in our lives? Any way we have to help the body understand this or at least have an inkling and an example or two would be tremendously helpful. There is a lot of uncertainty about how this works. Jeremiah and all the prophets make it sound like there are voices in the night. And maybe for some, there are. But for most of us, there is a warm heart, or a persistent urge, or something that brings tears or hope. In all of these ways, God through the Spirit, makes God’s will known for our lives. Because God knows us so intimately, God is always on our side.
Rev. Dr. Derek Weber, Director of Preaching Ministries, served churches in Indiana and Arkansas and the British Methodist Church. His PhD is from University of Edinburgh in preaching and media. He has taught preaching in seminary and conference settings for more than 20 years.