Stage 5: Jeremiah’s Cracked Pots, part 2
God is on our side—until we’re not. Wait, does that make sense? God is on our side, but sometimes we wander away. Sometimes we are off track. That’s what sin means, off track. All the shouting in our text today is because folks don’t know that they are off track. This isn’t anger or wrath. This is God calling God’s people back. They’ve wandered off. Worse, they think all that they have received is due to their own efforts rather than a gift from God. They’ve forgotten to be grateful. All their gratitude has leaked out.
That’s the image that Jeremiah offers. We leak. We can’t hold the grace of God, the water of life. We receive it, we fill up, week by week, but it leaks out. And if we don’t return to be filled again, we’re going to go dry. We’re going to be running on empty. We need to return to the source. No one, Jeremiah reminds us in this text, thought to ask about the author of all the goodness the people enjoy. No one thought to wonder where God is in the business of their lives.
So, we’ve gathered this week to worship and do that very thing, to fill up on God’s presence and to ask where God is in the rest of our lives. And to be reminded that God has always been present. We’re the ones who wandered off. We’re the ones who said that we could handle it on our own. So, now we’re back to ask again for God to be present, for God to make God’s self known to us. And we need to do it again and again because we leak. We are cracked cisterns, letting the presence of God leak away from us day by day until we return to be reminded.
Part of what worship could offer this week are ways to practice the presence of God in the in-between times. What can we do throughout the week to be reminded that God is with us? How could we pray, what could we read, what might we do with and for one another to keep us on track and close to God? This is an opportunity for the spiritual disciplines.
Maybe a card with a common prayer could be handed out or emailed to every member with the request that for the next week at a specific time, each member pulls out that card and prays the prayer. It is a gathering of the body without gathering. Knowing that other members of this family of God are doing the same brings a deeper level of experience to the act of praying. Maybe a daily email could be sent at a specific time to every member with access to email. Or a text. Some way of reminding each and all that God is ready to help patch up the leaks, so that we might retain more of the grace we cracked cisterns might need.
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.