Jeremiah

Jeremiah, or Why Did I Miss That Lecture?

Jeremiah Jeremiah, who was not a bullfrog, is also not a good friend of mine. In Greg Mobley's wonderful survey of the Latter Prophets at Andover Newton, Jeremiah was the week I missed. The reason for missing the Jeremiah lecture is outside my memory now. With three children at home, it's amazing I got to as many classes as I did in seminary. 

It's still true, even though I have only one, not-so-young child at home, that my life revolves around other people. Though on a day-to-day basis it may not feel that way to them. 

As I try to get back into writing about the lectionary in this New Year, after a break for vacation and the usual difficulty re-establishing a routine, I find myself confronted with the unknown Bullfrog himself.

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 over kingdoms, to pluck up and to pull down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant." (Jeremiah 1:4-10, NRSV)

I just moved all the files from the collective household desktop to my laptop, because the day is coming, and soon, when we need to replace said desktop, the centerpoint of our network, the computer actually plugged into the printer, which sometimes acknowledges our wireless and sometimes does not. I opened the folder for that class on the Latter Prophets. Surely someone in the class loaned me the notes for that day; I remember someone did. But a thorough search reminds me that they were photocopied, not electronic, and they are long gone, I'm sure. 

That's how much my life has changed, our lives have changed, since my last semester at Andover Newton, 8 years ago. 

So I don't know what Greg Mobley said about Jeremiah. I have to get to know him again all by myself. He's on my mind because the planning group for our Conference Annual Meeting chose a theme passage from Jeremiah, the one about God knowing the plans God has for Israel, and of course that is the same theme as the one here. God has things in mind; God has a sense of what lies ahead.

I, for one, wish there were a way to be surer just what those plans and things are.

10 thoughts on “Jeremiah, or Why Did I Miss That Lecture?”

  1. I am reading your post here in my office, steps away from my Old Testament notebook which contains — you guessed it — notes from Greg’s lecture on Jeremiah. Want ’em? I can scan and e-mail …

  2. I missed that lecture too. I was physically there, but my dad had died that Christmas when I had OT part two. Oops. Blessedly, I am married to a pastor who loves the book of Jeremiah.

  3. I agree with John C.!
    Also, I think you could use your wish for more clarity in God’s plans as a great starting point for preaching. You could also address the oft repeated phrase “God has a plan for your life.” Personally, I think it is a rather unhelpful thing to say to someone else.
    Finally, there were classes in seminary? Maybe that’s why I did so poorly.

  4. Eric, I couldn’t agree more! It can be an awful thing to say when a person feels disconnected or unclear.

  5. I just sat through a lecture last week about Walter Brueggemann’s take on Jeremiah (in “The Prophetic Imagination”)– there’s good stuff there too, if that helps.

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