Tag Archives: jeremiah

Spirit Space–a future with hope

Standard

Jeremiah 32.1-3a, 6-15

The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord in the tenth year of King Zedekiah of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar. At that time the army of the king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem, and the prophet Jeremiah was imprisoned in the court of the guard that was in the palace of the king of Judah, where King Zedekiah of Judah had imprisoned him.
Jeremiah said, The word of the Lord came to me: Hanamel son of your uncle Shallum is going to come to you and say, ‘Buy my field that is at Anathoth, for the right of redemption by purchase is yours.’ Then my cousin Hanamel came to me in the court of the guard, in accordance with the word of the Lord, and said to me, ‘Buy my field that is at Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, for the right of possession and redemption is yours; buy it for yourself.’ Then I knew that this was the word of the Lord.
And I bought the field at Anathoth from my cousin Hanamel, and weighed out the money to him, seventeen shekels of silver. I signed the deed, sealed it, got witnesses, and weighed the money on scales. Then I took the sealed deed of purchase, containing the terms and conditions, and the open copy; and I gave the deed of purchase to Baruch son of Neriah son of Mahseiah, in the presence of my cousin Hanamel, in the presence of the witnesses who signed the deed of purchase, and in the presence of all the Judeans who were sitting in the court of the guard. In their presence I charged Baruch, saying, Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Take these deeds, both this sealed deed of purchase and this open deed, and put them in an earthenware jar, in order that they may last for a long time. For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Houses and fields and vineyards shall again be bought in this land.

~~~~~

Live into hope!
Hope of captives freed, of sight restored, of the end of greed.
The oppressed shall be the first to see the year of God’s great jubilee.
Live into hope!
The blind shall see with insight and clarity, removing shades of pride and fear…
a vision of God, brought near.
Live into hope!
Hope of liberty, the right to speak, the right to be, the right to nutritious food,
the right to hear God’s word and be spiritually fed.
Live into hope!
Hope of captives freed from chains of fear, want, and greed.
We have been released–to faith, and hope, and joy, and peace.
May it be so.
Amen.

with the word online bible study: covenant

Standard

Jeremiah 31.31-34

The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, ‘Know the Lord’, for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.

Luke 18.1-8

Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, ‘In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, “Grant me justice against my opponent.” For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, “Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.” ’ And the Lord said, ‘Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?’

~~~~

What pops out at you in these stories? Is there anything that makes you go “hmm….” or “huh?” or “hey!!!!” Are you reminded of any other stories–whether in the Bible, in literature/movies/music/TV, or in your own life? As you read, do you hear any music in your head?

Can you see how or why these two stories might be related, why they would be paired in our Bible Study today? Is there anything that becomes clearer when we read the two together, or a message we might miss if we read just one of them?

What character do you most identify with? Who do you think these characters might represent?

If you were telling one of these stories in 21st century language, how might you get a similar idea across? (what kind of images would you use, what kind of metaphor, who would be the characters, etc.)

What do you hear as the good news in these stories? What do you hear as a challenge? What might these texts have to say to our community today?

With the Word online Bible Study: gratitude

Standard

Luke 17:11-19

On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” When he saw them, he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were made clean. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.”

Jeremiah 29:1-7

These are the words of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the remaining elders among the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. This was after King Jeconiah, and the queen mother, the court officials, the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the artisans, and the smiths had departed from Jerusalem. The letter was sent by the hand of Elasah son of Shaphan and Gemariah son of Hilkiah, whom King Zedekiah of Judah sent to Babylon to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. It said: Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.

~~~~~

What pops out at you in these stories? Is there anything that makes you go “hmm….” or “huh?” or “hey!!!!” Are you reminded of any other stories–whether in the Bible, in literature/movies/music/TV, or in your own life? As you read, do you hear any music in your head?

Can you see how or why these two stories might be related, why they would be paired in our Bible Study today?  Is there anything that becomes clearer when we read the two together, or a message we might miss if we read just one of them?

What do you hear as the good news in these stories? What do you hear as a challenge? What might these texts have to say to our community today?

Advent e-votions, day 5

Standard

Jeremiah 33:14-16

The days are surely coming, says the Lord,

when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah.

In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David;

and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.

In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety.

And this is the name by which it will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness.”

Classrooms and music have been my life-long passions.  Classrooms were wonderful places, full of books, and promise.  Music is a huge joy, and in almost every moment of my life, a tune appropriate to each situation has been running through my brain.

Imagine then, the overload I deal with as I read the book of Jeremiah.  His writing is full of incredible and wonderful promise.  The promise in a classroom is beautiful to behold.  Each fresh face is a study of the future, and that is what keeps teachers going.  A letter or conversation with a former student reminds a teacher that each student has a promise that defies prediction.  But, Jeremiah’s description of the promise we’re offered is awesome–that which fills me with awe.  That promise of One who will do all that is Just and Right brings me to my knees!  It’s bigger than behavior in a classroom, and bigger than our tiny plans for the future we anticipate.  Forget the classroom, and look at our church:  we work in community with people who depend upon our promises.  Still, small stuff!  Our nation asks us to maintain promises of all sorts, and our government tries to hold up its promises to us.  That sometimes works, and often does not.  However, Jeremiah is reporting a promise that rings of authenticity for all of us—the entire globe is involved!  This promise is to be trusted, fully and completely, now and for all time!  Here comes the Lord, Our Righteousness, from the line of David!  What a superb promise!  It hedges nothing!  There’s no caution to it, and it doesn’t rest on consequence.  The world will be breathless!

And then, just as I gasp at the magnitude of that promise, my music brain takes over.  Carols, and special music, and band concerts, and symphonies crowd each other on my play list.  “What Child is This?” was a childhood favorite of mine, as I loved the response, “This, this is Christ the King, whom shepherds guard and angels sing.”  Oh!  Come!  All ye faithful….always made me imagine us, peeking over the shoulders of wise men and shepherds, humming all the way.  It’s the very best musical season that lies ahead.

A great book, with a commanding promise, and all the best music the world has ever known.  I’m enthralled.

Prayer

God, thank you for your reckless and far-flung promises. Help me be a part of fulfilling your promise here on earth.  Amen.

–may the Spirit move in the words of Cindy Swartzloff

Advent e-votions, day 1

Standard

As we light the first candle on the Advent wreath and open the first window on the Advent calendar, we turn our focus to watching and waiting, expectancy and hope. As we await the coming of the Messiah, we remember that the season of Advent is not simply about readying ourselves for the observances of Christmas but about setting aside time to prepare our hearts and lives to receive the gift that comes to us in the stable. We open ourselves to see the light of the infant lying in the manger and embrace what it means to travel through life guided by the light that darkness cannot overcome. On this Advent journey, we invite you to join with us in using these devotions, written by members of our church family reflecting on the lectionary texts for Sundays, for a daily time of reflection and prayer, and we wish you all the blessings of this season, as together we sing, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.”

 

Jeremiah 33:14-16

The days are surely coming, says the Lord,

when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah.

In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David;

and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.

In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety.

And this is the name by which it will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness.”

 

Promises, promises…we all make them, keep them, and break them.  During Sunday worship in Advent we will be reflecting on God’s promises—promises that are always fulfilled, never broken.  Advent is a time of waiting, a time of preparation, a time of reflection…and also a time of run-up to a major holiday event, with feasts and family and all the drama those entail…and also a time of constant bombardment to buy more, spend more, be more.

Into that tension comes the word of the Lord—a word that promises, a word that promises something new will come, a word that promises something new will come and bring justice and right relationship.   This promise of newness in the midst of the old, of life springing up where death reigned, of relationships made whole even as we have come to depend on the brokenness—this is the promise of Advent waiting.  If only we can see, God will continue to do a new thing, even a shocking thing!  That branch from the line of David was meant to be a warrior king, but God is always re-forming God’s people and so sent us a baby instead.  Righteousness is supposed to be something to work toward, a badge of honor one can earn, but God is always doing surprising things and so has brought right-relationship into our midst, given it freely, and told us we can’t earn it, only live into it…relationship with a person, with The One who not only shows the way but IS the way.

This promise is true, and God’s word can be trusted.  In this season of Advent, let us wait and watch and work together to see what God is doing in our midst even now.

 

Prayer

God of promise, your word comes in places I least expect it.  Help me to be open to your movement in my life this Advent season.  Amen.

 

–may the Spirit move through the words of Rev. Teri Peterson