Summary: A sermon about peacemaking in the midst of conflict.
“God Calling: Jeremiah”
We have a hate problem in our country.
This past week at least 10 people were shot in Chattanooga, 4 people died, 3 were homicides.
Our nation watched in horror as graphic videos showed the killings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling.
Thursday night we witnessed a horrible tragedy in Dallas as snipers gunned down police officers during a peaceful demonstration.
There can be no doubt that hate is alive and well.
For the past year, the Presidential campaign has brought out the worst in us as hatred and racial tensions intensify and are being used for political gain by some of the very people who aim to lead this country.
Terrorism is becoming homegrown.
We have black pitted against white, white against black, Christians against Muslims, angry whites against Mexicans, Democrats against Republicans and Republicans against Democrats.
Conservatives make progressives out to be “devils” while progressives do the same to conservatives.
People are living as if “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” were their favorite Bible passage—when Jesus made it clear that the fulfillment of the law is to “turn the other cheek.”
In one way or another, I suppose this is the way it has always been—ever since the Fall--and because of that, Jesus came and died.
Jesus came and died in order to bring us together in love.
Jesus came and died in order to make us a “a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
We are called by God; all of us.
We are called to love those who love us as well as those who hate us.
We are called to be the “salt of the earth;” “the light of the world.”
We are called to be ONE just as Jesus and the Father are ONE.
We are called to heal, to share, to sow peace, to spread the Good News by our words and our actions.
We are called not to “see” color lines, class differences, racial divides.
As Paul puts it in Galatians: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
How are we doing at living into this promise?
How are we doing at getting “this word” out?
In a world filled with hate, there is no more important message!!!
There is no other hope.
In our Scripture Lesson for this morning we are told that “the word of the Lord came to [Jeremiah],” and it was during a terribly turbulent and volatile political time in Judah’s history.
There was a lot of violence, upheaval, instability, hatred.
But the Lord speaks to Jeremiah, as the Lord speaks to all of us, if we could only hear.
And the Lord says: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.”
I believe that what God is saying to Jeremiah, and to all of us is this—“Before I even began to create the world I knew you, I set you apart.”
In Psalm 139, which we read together earlier, it says: “My bones weren’t hidden from you when I was being put together in a secret place, when I was being woven together in the deep parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my embryo, and on your scroll every day was written that was being formed for me, before any one of them had yet happened.”
In the Creation story we are told that “God created humanity in God’s own image, in the divine image God created them, male and female God created them…” “[we] were formed from the [soil] of the fertile land…” and God “blew life’s breath into [our] nostrils.”
And that is the beginning of the love story of God for human beings.
That is the beginning of the love story of God for you and for me.
That is the beginning of the love story of God for the police who gunned down the black men this past week, and for the snipers who gunned down the police.
That is the beginning of the love story of God for the immigrant, the hateful, the terrorist, the Republican, the Democrat, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump!!!
God knows when we stand up and when we sit down.
He is familiar with all our ways.
He knit us, lovingly, together in our mother’s womb.
He is with us at all times.
He weeps when we weep.
He rejoices when we rejoice in His love and salvation—when we come home to Him like the prodigal son in Jesus’ parable in Luke Chapter 15.
And He has great plans for us—for each and every one of us.
Do you believe that God has great plans for your life?