Sunday, September 8, 2019
Jeremiah 18:1-11 • Psalm1 and 139:1-18 • Deuteronomy 30:15-20 • Philemon 1:1-21 • Luke 14:25-33
Jeremiah had grown up being fully aware of the ominous nature of the future of the nation and people to which he belonged. He had surely heard the words of the prophet Isaiah, and probably continually heard the words of others about Isaiah, to know that Judah and Jerusalem were in great peril. He was keenly aware of the fact that no one was really listening to, or taking heed of the message from, Isaiah. This accounts for his resistance to accepting God’s call to be a prophet – a call to continue proclaiming Isaiah’s message and warning. While God used Isaiah to open the eyes of the people to the fact that they had turned away from God and the coming tragic results, Jeremiah’s given message was even more severe and threatening. This is the reason the people not only failed to listen to Jeremiah but also why they became increasingly hostile and aggressive towards him and his message. In today’s passage we continue to see the urgency of God’s call through Jeremiah for the people to change before it is too late.
The letter from Paul to Philemon, his friend who was a part of the church at Colossae, was written while Paul was a prisoner in Rome. While the letter is written to Philemon detailing Paul’s encouragement for him to do the right thing in regard to an escaped slave, it is equally, a message about the life altering transformation that is possible in a life given to God. The slave, a man named Onesimus, had escaped from Philemon and ended up in Rome where he met up with the apostle Paul. During his time with Paul his life was unalterably changed by the truth of Jesus Christ. While the subtle message of the wrongs of slavery are seen in Paul’s letter, the message of a life eternally changed is obvious and undeniable.
Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18
This Sunday’s responsive reading brings us back to the lesson learned by Jeremiah, and many called, when he told God he was too immature and incapable to accept God’s calling on his life. God had called him to a task that Jeremiah thought impossible. God knew Jeremiah and was fully assured he could follow and accomplish the call. The same message is given to us every time God sets a call in front of us.