Readings: Psalm 85: 1-2, 8-13; Jeremiah 1:4-10; Acts 11:19-26
Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.” But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a boy’; for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.”
Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth; and the Lord said to me, “Now I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms, to pluck up and to pull down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.” [Jeremiah 1:4-10, NRSV]
The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah in a vision. The word came in different ways to other Biblical figures. For example:
to Mary and Joseph from an angel,
to the Wisemen from a star,
to Moses in a burning bush,
and to Elijah in the “still small voice”.
God’s words were those of comfort, challenge and direction, and God continues to speak today in ways that are unique to each of us.
God speaks to me in the still small voice found in morning prayer, in the challenges of sermons and news stories of tragedies and heroics, in the signs of death and resurrection found in nature, and in the love of family and friends, to name a few ways. But, as Psalm 85:8 says Let me hear what God the Lord will speak. I must want to hear God’s voice. How will the word of God come to you today?
Once we hear the word, we must be willing to share that word with others. Jeremiah felt he was too young. I often feel that I am too old or not as wise as others or I am afraid to appear foolish. There should be no excuses. The word comes to us and then must be passed through us, to encourage and challenge others. Who needs a word from you today?
I end with a blessing by Nan Richardson:
That you will see in the way God longs you to see.
That you will be given vision that speaks precisely
To and through who you are.
That the holy will reveal itself, divulge itself in you.
Offered by Ann Fowler, spiritual director, bound for Bethlehem.