- Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7
- Psalm 66:1-12
- 2 Timothy 2:8-15
- Luke 17:11-19
If I were preaching this Sunday…
. . . I’d preach on Jeremiah 29:4-7. This passage is one of my favorites. As a city dweller and one who believes that we should be engaged in the context in which we find ourselves, this is a comforting and challenging passage. In a world where the grass is always greener, the next thing is the best thing and staying put is sometimes seen as a lack of ambition, a word to be where you are and thrive is a welcomed respite.
The interesting thing about this passage is that, while it is a call to shift expectations for the actual movement of a dwelling place, this is NOT a call to remain still, for the place where the exiled find themselves is the place where their actions are needed at this particular moment. In fact, they are reminded that in their actions to bring about the well-being and welfare of the city, their own well-being and welfare is centered.
Oh how we might use that understanding now as a country; for as the writing of this post the government shut-going is still in effect. If we could only understand and believe that thinking about and acting on behalf of the welfare of others benefits us as well, for not only do we want to keep moving, we want to do so independent of others. Too often our American independence and individualism can trick us into thinking that our actions don’t matter AND that everyone else is on his/her own. This passage flips that idea on its head calling for a communal understanding of interdependence and connections.
I suspect that drawing these same parallels within a city, church, school or family will not be too hard.
God of where we are and where we are going;
God of what as been and what will be;
God of the moving and the still;
Be with us this day as we gathering in this space. Help us to be centered on you and the Spirit that is present right here, right now. Give us the courage not to look so far ahead that we are unable to see what is right before us; and give us joy in serving those who walk before our eyes each day. In your infinitely loving name we pray, Amen.
- WHAT DOES HOME LOOK LIKE? -- Somewhere this is begging for some creativity around settling into a new home or a new city. What do we do first and why? How do things become our “regular” stops? How do we avoid getting involved in local activity, events and causes? What does it mean build and live?
- PRAYER FOR CIVIL SERVANTS – As the shut-down continues, we must not forget those who have been furloughed as well as those who have been given extra work. And in order to avoid the “God love America and only American syndrome, it would also be important to acknowledge those who face the same struggles every day in the United States and around the world.
- CLOUD OF WITNESSES – Could be a good time to name those in the city in which you live who make up the cloud of witnesses as a way of acknowledging the importance of doing good work where you live.
- HYMN SUGGESTION – At our church last week we sang one of my favorite hymns, For Everyone Born, A Place at the Table just beautiful especially if you will be celebrating communion. The lyrics are powerful.
*My Lectionary Helps:
- Revised Common Lectionary Readings, Vanderbilt Divinity Library
- Text Week, a great lectionary resource
- The Hardest Question, Sparkhouse’s weekly lectionary reflection from a variety of thinkers
- Feasting on the Word, a fine lectionary resource in book form and one that I use often.
The content of the weekly lectionary help will shift and change as time goes on, so if there are things you would like me to add or change, please let me know. Also don’t miss any new posts by following BRC+ on Twitter, liking the BRC+ Facebook Page, joining the BRC+ Facebook Group and/or subscribing to the BRC+ RSS feed.