Saturday March 26, 2011
Declare this in the house of Jacob, proclaim it in Judah: Hear this, O foolish and senseless people, who have eyes, but do not see, who have ears, but do not hear. Do you not fear me? says the Lord; Do you not tremble before me? I placed the sand as a boundary for the sea, a perpetual barrier that it cannot pass; though the waves toss, they cannot prevail, though they roar, they cannot pass over it. But this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart; they have turned aside and gone away. They do not say in their hearts, “Let us fear the Lord our God, who gives the rain in its season, the autumn rain and the spring rain, and keeps for us the weeks appointed for the harvest.” Your iniquities have turned these away, and your sins have deprived you of good. – Jeremiah 5:20-25
As I read this passage, it wasn’t too difficult for me to acknowledge that we are so easily turned away from God. Jeremiah would be just as vehement with us today as he was then. He would not hold back his judgment or mince his words.
Whether it’s the sweet-tongued preacher who promises prosperity or the lure of wealth and prestige in business, when we confuse God with nation or the false idols of celebrity, we always miss the point. When we forget what it means to be people of the covenant we turn our backs on what it means to honor God.
Jeremiah knew this and he wasted no time in calling his people to return to their ancestral faith. Jesus, too, makes it very clear what will put us right with God. In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells us, “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” If we follow these two commandments, we repent and return to God – by loving and serving the other, we will love and serve the Lord.
Merciful God, all praise and glory are yours. We thank you for the ability you gave us that allows us to make choices. Yet we know that when we listen to our own desires, when we become self-serving and self-involved, our choices do not bring honor to you. Guide us and inspire us through the wisdom of the Holy Spirit; call us to our higher selves so that we will make good choices and do those things which honor you. We ask this in the strong name of your son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Barb Vaughan is a senior this year at McCormick. She is looking forward to life after McCormick, though, while her husband looks forward to retirement!