You pushed me into this, God, and I let you do it.
You were too much for me.
And now I’m a public joke.
They all poke fun at me.
Every time I open my mouth
I’m shouting, “Murder!” or “Rape!”
And all I get for my God-warnings
are insults and contempt.
But if I say, “Forget it!
No more God-Messages from me!”
The words are fire in my belly,
a burning in my bones.
I’m worn out trying to hold it in.
I can’t do it any longer!
Then I hear whispering behind my back:
“There goes old ‘Danger-Everywhere.’ Shut him up! Report him!”
Old friends watch, hoping I’ll fall flat on my face:
“One misstep and we’ll have him. We’ll get rid of him for good!”
But God, a most fierce warrior, is at my side.
Those who are after me will be sent sprawling—
Slapstick buffoons falling all over themselves,
a spectacle of humiliation no one will ever forget.
Oh, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, no one fools you.
You see through everyone, everything.
I want to see you pay them back for what they’ve done.
I rest my case with you.
Sing to God! All praise to God!
He saves the weak from the grip of the wicked. (The Message)
As I read this passage in Jeremiah 20:7-13, I began to identify with Jeremiah’s feelings as he agonized over the message he must deliver and prayed for those who refused to respond to the truth. I believe Jeremiah was reflecting the character of God himself in the unfolding drama of God’s love affair with His creation. We can also look to Jesus’ agony in the Garden of Gethsemane in (Matthew 26:36-46) as testimony to God’s unfailing love as revealed in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Throughout his life, Jeremiah stood alone, declaring God’s messages of doom, announcing the new covenant, and weeping over the fate of his beloved country. Jeremiah felt firsthand God’s love for his people and the people’s rejection of that love.
In today’s scripture, Jeremiah cries out in despair mixed with praise, unburdening his heart to God. When he withheld God’s word for a while, it became fire in his bones until he could hold it back no longer.
If someone with such intimate awareness of God’s presence struggled with insecurity, we ought not to be surprised over our own failures and weaknesses. Jeremiah doesn’t give us an excuse but rather an example. No matter how we may feel about ourselves at any moment, God remains unchanged, loving, and present in our lives.
Many in our congregation know things about Jesus Christ, but they don’t know Jesus the person. When we don’t know Christ, we make choices as though this life is all we have, resulting in the aborting of babies in the womb or assisting in the death of the elderly. In reality, this life is just the introduction to eternity where there is no death, sickness, enemy, evil, or sin.
Today’s news headlines are filled with the innocent slaughter of children throughout the world’s major cities by the bombs, guns, knives, and even motor vehicles of terrorists acting in the name of false religion and false gods.
I believe God is calling each of us to proclaim the full Gospel of Jesus Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no matter the cost to us or our families, and to follow the example of Jeremiah despite our current circumstances.
Dear Father in heaven help each one of us to be courageous, to not water down the truth of Your Word so that those who hear Your Word will be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ our Lord. In whose name we pray, Amen.
This week’s reflection has been written by The Rev. Ron McKeon. Ron began his relationship with Anglicans for Life as a staff accountant in 2004 while a seminary student at Trinity School for Ministry, Ambridge, PA. After graduation and ordination to the Episcopal Church Transitional Deaconate in 2007, Ron was elected to the AFL Board of Directors and became AFL’s Treasurer, a role he continues to fulfill. Today Ron and his wife Debby serve as SAMS (Society of Anglican Missionaries and Senders) missionaries in the Anglican Church in Brazil – Diocese of Recife in the city of João Pessoa, Paraíba, Brazil. Ron is a parish priest and special assistant to Suffragan Bishop Flávio Soares the Diocesan Missionary Bishop. They have five daughters and seven grandchildren in the USA. Learn more about Ron and Debby’s ministry on their website.