Preach It Jeremiah!

Jeremiah the Prophet by Rembrandt

Someone has commented that I’m echoing Jeremiah in the last few posts. I’m certainly know to do different voices, but I hadn’t thought of Jeremiah, but come to think of it, why not?

Jeremiah the prophet is the typical doomsday prophet. Such a rant or lamentation over the wickedness of the world is even called a “jeremiad

I don’t have a problem with it. Here’s why: it’s the beauty of preaching to, and living the liturgical seasons. The first reading for Advent Sunday actually comes from Jeremiah, and the first Sunday of Advent is typically a time for the jeremiah in the preacher to come forth.

Wake up and smell the catastrophe!” was my message. “Wake up and realize how very wicked and depraved and doomed our culture really is, and begin by looking in the mirror!”

The reason I say there is a beauty in this is because I was brought up in the sort of fundamentalist Protestantism which featured a pretty heavy dose of doom and gloom and the wickedness of the world, the end times, the rapture–the whole schtick. The problem was, this was the constant theme. There was not much let up. It was every week.

Preaching through the liturgical year, however, gives you the chance–yea the duty–to preach about doomsday, the end of the wicked world and judgement day and so forth, at the appropriate time. You see, there’s something in people that loves a doomsday, and something in us which needs to hear about it from time to time.

But there is also a time for rejoicing a time for confidence, a time for trust in God’s goodness and a time to hear about his mercy as well as his judgement.

But if we never heard about his judgement God’s mercy would be a nonsense. Who would care about his mercy if we did not also fear his judgement?

Finally, if you don’t like the odd jeremiad, I expect you want your religion to be comfortable, and I worry about that. The Christian religion should  be comforting, but not comfortable.

I need a Jeremiah kick in the pants from time to time, and the ones who dislike Jeremiah are probably the ones who need to hear him most.

Read: Rapture or Rupture?

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  • kkollwitz

    Jeremiah reads well out loud.

  • Robert Sheehan

    “The Christian religion should be comforting, but not comfortable.”
    I like that. I am going to use it.

  • Debbie

    We just finished reading Jeremiah in my Bible study. The whole class loved reading him; many for the first time (outside of Mass). Although there is a lot of doom and gloom, don’t forget chapter 31 – “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.” Keep it up, Father!

  • flyingvic

    I was once involvedin a public controversy over the future of a church school, and one of my opponents wrote to the local press (big deal!) describing me as a Jeremiah because I said I could see nothing good coming from their proposals. The paper published my reply the following week, thanking my opponent for his kindness in likening me to a prophet who had a quite remarkable record of being right . . .

    My opponents’ proposals won the day; and, as a direct result of the policies that they forced upon the school, it failed and closed some ten years later. I took no satisfaction at all in being proved right.