Jeremiah was a prophet. I wonder if he’d be a good friend of mine. I don’t understand every single word he said, but to me, he’s top of the line. To be a prophet is hard enough.
To be a prophet to your family and friends, to your people and king, is even harder.
Through his ministry, this hard knock flier endured rebuke, emotional and physical persecution, and eventually witnessed the destruction of everything he loved. With a life
like this, no wonder he is often referred to as the “weeping prophet.”
On Wednesday evenings we have been studying through the book of Jeremiah. Chapter after chapter, despite the circumstances and the threats he faced, Jeremiah remained a straight-shootin’ son of our God. We must remember that most of the book is dedicated to Jeremiah prophesying to the people of God. Yes, there are about six chapters near the end of this 52-chapter book where Jeremiah speaks to the kings of the world and tells them what to do. The Word of God, however, is focused on the people of God.
It makes sense from an outreach perspective that if we, the people of God, do not have our house in order, what power is our witness to the world? Moreover, from a
discipleship perspective, do our lives testify that we ourselves are sons and daughters of God? These can be uncomfortable questions to ask ourselves as Christians. It can be all the more uncomfortable when a person like Jeremiah voices them and forces us to confront them.
When we say one thing and do another, it confuses our witness in the world. All the more confusing when we hold only some accountable for their actions. Recently, I have noticed a disconcerting trend of Christian leaders in this country tailoring their prophetic voice for the sake of political privilege, cultural influence, or the fear of reprisal. I have
seen average Christians loudly condemn the sins of one politician or celebrity and shirk
away from speaking about those of others, and sometimes justifying outright sin! I have
been confused by the inconsistent voice of Christians and long for a Church that can
speak prophetically like Jeremiah.
Where is the prophetic voice of the Church today? Answering this question will aid both the health of the Church and our witness to the world. This month I will explore this question through Sunday sermons, looking back at the two thousand years of successes and failures by the Church, and considering our role in this world as citizens of God’s kingdom. Our prophetic voice is ultimately a voice of redemption. It is a song of good news and joy to the world for every boy and girl and all of creation, from the fishes in the deep blue sea to you and me. This is good news worth pursuing and a song worth singing.