Archive for the ‘Jeremiah 20’ Tag

Apocalyptic Warnings   1 comment

jeremiah-sistine-chapel

Above:  Jeremiah, from the Sistine Chapel, by Michelangelo Buonarroti

Image in the Public Domain

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The Collect:

Almighty God, by grace alone you call us and accept us in your service.

Strengthen us by your Spirit, and make us worthy of your call,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 23

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The Assigned Readings:

Jeremiah 19:1-15 (Thursday)

Jeremiah 20:7-13 (Friday)

Jeremiah 20:14-18 (Saturday)

Psalm 65:5-12 (All Days)

Revelation 18:11-20 (Thursday)

2 Peter 3:1-7 (Friday)

Luke 10:13-16 (Saturday)

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Those who dwell at the ends of the earth tremble at your marvels;

the gates of the morning and evening sing your praise.

–Psalm 65:7, Common Worship (2000)

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The prophet Jeremiah would have been thrilled for that statement to have applied to Jerusalem.  Alas, some people there even sacrificed their children to pagan gods at the valley whose name became the source for the label “Gehenna,” a place of suffering in the afterlife.  Jeremiah condemned such idolatrous and violent practices and pronounced divine punishment.  For his trouble he faced flogging and imprisonment.  Yet those who mistreated him would, he said, die as exiles in Babylon.  That prediction came true.

A common expectation in New Testament times was that Jesus would return quite soon.  It was an age of apocalyptic hopes that God would end the violent and exploitative rule of the Roman Empire, set the world right, and that the divine order would govern the planet.  In that context a lack of repentance was especially bad, as in Luke 10:13-16.  In Revelation 18 the Roman Empire had fallen (within the Johannine Apocalypse only), but the imperium survived well beyond the first century of the Common Era.  Discouragement and scoffing had become evident by the 80s and 90s, the timeframe for the writing of 2 Peter.  Yet the calls to repentance remained applicable.

Divine time and human time work differently, but some things remain the same.  Fearful theocrats react badly to honest prophets.  The realization that God has not met a human schedule leads to bad spiritual results.  Violent, oppressive, and exploitative governments continue to exist.  And the promise that God will destroy the evil order then replace it with a holy and just one remains a future hope.  In the meantime we would do well to consider the moral lessons of Revelation 18.  For example, do we benefit from any violent, oppressive, and/or exploitative system?  If so, what is the “Babylon” or what are the “Babylons” to which we have attached ourselves, from which we benefit, and whose passing we would mourn?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 23, 2014 COMMON ERA

PROPER 29–CHRIST THE KING SUNDAY–THE LAST SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY, YEAR A

THE FEAST OF JOHN KENNETH PFOHL, SR., U.S. MORAVIAN BISHOP; HIS WIFE, HARRIET ELIZABETH “BESSIE” WHITTINGTON PFOHL, U.S. MORAVIAN MUSICIAN; AND THEIR SON, JAMES CHRISTIAN PFOHL, SR., U.S. MORAVIAN MUSICIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT CLEMENT I OF ROME, BISHOP

THE FEAST OF SAINT COLUMBAN, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

THE FEAST OF MIGUEL AUGUSTIN PRO, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

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Adapted from this post:

https://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2014/11/23/devotion-for-thursday-friday-and-saturday-before-the-third-sunday-after-the-epiphany-year-b-elca-daily-lectionary/

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Love and Vengeance   2 comments

jeremiah-sistine-chapel

Above:  Jeremiah, from the Sistine Chapel, by Michelangelo Buonarroti

Image in the Public Domain

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The Collect:

Teach us, good Lord God, to serve you as you deserve,

to give and not to count the cost,

to fight and not to heed the wounds,

to toil and not to seek for rest,

to labor and not to ask for reward,

except that of knowing that we do your will,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 40

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The Assigned Readings:

Jeremiah 20:1-6

Psalm 69:7-10 [11-15], 16-18

Luke 11:53-12:3

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Draw me out of the mire, that I sink not;

let me be rescued from those who hate me and out of the deep waters.

–Psalm 69:16, Common Worship (2000)

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Jesus was very smart—sufficently intelligent to avoid becoming trapped in his own words and able to turn the tables on his would-be ensnarers in the process. The prophet Jeremiah was in literal stocks for doing what God had told him to do. Obeying the will of God leads sometimes to the creation of enemies, who would rather double down than repent.

Revenge and judgment, along with forgiveness, are activities of God, who knows better than we do. We are also to forgive, of course, for it is especially good for us and our communities. But revenge and personal judgment are for God alone to mete out. This does not satisfy many people, but it does avoid human error as well as the spiritual toxins which the desire for revenge release in one. Besides, I would rather err on the side of generosity of spirit than on the side of anger and vengeance. How about you, O reader?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 23, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT DESIDERIUS/DIDIER OF VIENNE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF SAINT GUIBERT OF GORZE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN BAPTIST ROSSI, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST

THE FEAST OF NICOLAUS COPERNICUS, SCIENTIST

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Adapted from This Post:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2014/05/23/devotion-for-saturday-before-proper-7-year-a-elca-daily-lectionary/

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Jeremiah and Matthew, Part VII: Mercy and Repentance   1 comment

Destruction of Jerusalem by Ercole de' Roberti

Above:  The Siege and Destruction of  Jerusalem by the Romans Under the Command of Titus, A.D. 70 (1850), by David Roberts (1796-1864)

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Blessed Lord, who caused all holy scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 236

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The Assigned Readings:

Jeremiah 20:1-18 (November 8)

Jeremiah 22:1-23 (November 9)

Psalm 51 (Morning–November 8)

Psalm 104 (Morning–November 9)

Psalms 142 and 65 (Evening–November 8)

Psalms 118 and 111 (Evening–November 9)

Matthew 24:29-51 (November 8)

Matthew 25:1-13 (November 9)

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Some Related Posts:

Jeremiah 20:

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/thirty-third-day-of-lent/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2010/12/06/proper-7-year-a/

Matthew 24:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2010/09/14/first-day-of-advent-first-sunday-of-advent-year-a/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/03/07/week-of-proper-16-thursday-year-1/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/10/10/week-of-proper-16-thursday-year-2/

Matthew 25:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/03/07/week-of-proper-16-friday-year-1/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/05/19/proper-27-year-a/

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The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod daily lectionary I am following provides a table for selecting Psalms for each day.  During Ordinary Time there is a rotation over a period of four weeks.  Then the cycle begins again.  So sometimes the appointed Psalms (or at least some of them) seem not to fit with the main readings.

God is mad in the Jeremiah and Matthew lections.  The Kingdom of Judah will rise.  The current king will go first, however.  When God acts many–evildoers–will have an ample supply of reasons for laments.  When God becomes the king in such a way that people recognize the divine kingship many people will consider this fact bad news, for it will be bad news for them.  But how else is God supposed to clean the slate and to rescue the oppressed righteous when evildoers refuse to change their minds and ways, to cease from oppressing?

The assigned Psalms range from a confession of sin to praises of God for being merciful and bountiful in dispensing blessings.  Actually, all of them fit the main readings well, for:

  1. One should confess sins, especially in the face of judgment;
  2. Confession of sins can lead to repentance, something God encourages in the Bible; and
  3. Judgment and mercy coexist–judgment for some and mercy for others, according to the absence or presence of repentance.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 3, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MORAND OF CLUNY, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK AND MISSIONARY

THE FEAST OF SAINTS LIPHARDUS OF ORLEANS AND URBICIUS OF MEUNG, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOTS

THE FEAST OF THE MARTYRS OF UGANDA

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Adapted from this post:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2013/06/03/devotion-for-november-8-and-9-lcms-daily-lectionary/

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Spiritual Good Fruit   1 comment

Jeremiah

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Collect and lections from the Episcopal Lesser Feasts and Fasts Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints

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Follow the assigned readings with me this Lent….

Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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Jeremiah 20:7-13 (Revised English Bible):

You have duped me, LORD,

and I have been your dupe;

you have outwitted me and prevailed.

All the day long I have been made a laughing-stock;

everyone ridicules me.

Whenever I speak I must needs cry out,

calling,

Violence!

and

Assault!

I am reproached and derided all the time

for uttering the word of the LORD.

Whenever I said,

I shall not call it to mind

or speak in his name again,

then his word became imprisoned within me

like a fire burning in my heart.

I was weary with holding it under,

and could endure no more.

For I heard many whispering,

Terror let loose!

Denounce him! Let us denounce him.

All my friends were on watch for a false step,

saying,

Perhaps he may be tricked;

then we can catch him

and have our revenge on him.

But the LORD is on my side,

a powerful champion;

therefore my persecutors will stumble and fall powerless.

Their abasement will be bitter when they fall,

and their dishonour will long be remembered.

But, LORD of Hosts, you test the righteous

and search the depths of the heart.

To you I have committed my cause;

let me see your vengeance on them.

Sing to the LORD, praise the LORD;

for he rescues the poor

from those who would do them wrong.

Psalm 18:1-6 (Revised English Bible):

I love you, LORD, my strength.

the LORD is my lofty crag, my fortress, my champion,

my God, my rock in whom I find shelter,

my shield and sure defender, my strong tower.

I shall call to the LORD to whom all praise is due;

then shall I be made safe from my enemies.

The bonds of death encompassed me

and destructive torrents overtook me,

the bonds of Sheol tightened about me,

the snares of death were set to catch me.

When in anguish of heart I cried to the LORD

and called for help to my God,

he heard me from his temple,

and my cry reached his ears.

John 10:31-42 (Revised English Bible):

Once again [some of] the Jews picked up stones to stone him [Jesus].  At this Jesus said to them,

By the Father’s power I have done many good deeds before your eyes; for which of these are you stoning me?

The Jews replied,

We are not stoning you for any good deed, but for blasphemy: you, a man, are claiming to be God.

Jesus answered,

Is it not written in your law, “I said: You are gods”?  Is it those to whom God’s word came who are called gods–and scripture cannot be set aside.  Then why do you charge me with blasphemy for saying, “I am God’s son,” I whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world.?  If my deeds are not the deeds of my Father, do not believe me.  But if they are, then even if you do not believe me, believe the deeds, so that you may recognize and know that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.

This provoked them to make another attempt to seize him, but he escaped from their clutches.

Jesus withdrew again across the Jordan, to the place where John had been baptizing earlier, and stayed there while crowds came to him.

John gave us no miraculous sign,

they said,

but all that he told us about this man was true.

And many came to believe in him there.

The Collect:

O Lord, you relieve our necessity out of the abundance of your great riches: Grant that we may accept with joy the salvation you bestow, and manifest it to all the world by the quality of our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

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One New Testament ethic teaches that one knows a tree by its fruit and the quality thereof.  The same principle applies to human beings, with attitudes and deeds as the produce.

In this day’s readings obedience to God (certainly good fruit) leads to danger from fellow human beings.   Sometimes this peril is life-threatening, leading the psalmist to refer to Sheol. [Note: The psalmist’s reference to Sheol is to a pre-Heaven and Hell concept of the afterlife.  In widely accepted ancient Near Eastern cosmology the world was flat, with a subterranean underworld–Sheol, or “the Pit,” to the Hebrews–and water below the earth and above the dome of the sky.  The St. Joseph Edition of the New American Bible contains an illustration of this on the page opposite Genesis 1.] The experiences of Jeremiah, the psalmist, and Jesus contradict prosperity theology, which teaches that faithfulness leads to happiness and prosperity.  (In the North American context witness many television evangelists, namely Robert Tilton and the Reverend Ike.)

Out of these readings I derive three main points.

First, may each of us bear good fruit indicative of God.  This is possible by grace.

Second, may we who are blessed with religious liberty support as best we can (at least with prayer) our fellow Christians who face persecution.  Many of them live in predominantly Islamic cultures in Asia, where there was no Enlightenment.  Yet history and current events reveal the identities of other persecutors.  Protestants have persecuted each other and Roman Catholics.  Roman Catholics have persecuted Protestants and Eastern Orthodox.  Eastern Orthodox have persecuted Roman Catholics and Protestants.  And Atheistic regimes  have persecuted Christians of all stripes, to the present day.

Third, let us remember Jesus’ command to pray for persecutors and enemies, too.  He led by example.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 14, 2010 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MATHILDA, QUEEN OF GERMANY

THE FEAST OF KEREOPA AND MANIHERA OF TARANAKI, ANGLICAN MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF PAVEL CHESNOKOV, COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF PETER GRAVES, ACTOR

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Adapted from this post:

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/thirty-third-day-of-lent/

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Posted February 14, 2012 by neatnik2009 in Jeremiah 19-21, John 10, Psalm 18

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