Summary: In Jeremiah 19 there is the climactic scene where Jeremiah is instructed to smash at the gate of the city in front of the leaders of Jerusalem. The clash of worldviews and the significant emotional cargo of this passage seemed difficult to render to a mod

Jeremiah’s Performance Review


Jim Martin

The River Church Community

Sunday, November 18th, 2007

The River Church Community


Scene 1

The intro has to set up that the book of Jeremiah

and this story arc in the OT are all about God

trying to warn his people that if they don’t

change their ways, the Babylonians are coming

conquer them and that they should understand this

as God’s discipline.


(spot light comes up on extreme stage

right silhouetting the figure of a

newscaster behind an anchor desk. The

following text is read just as if it is

current news.)

Here now the news for this Sunday, November 18th, 600

BC. Much of the land of Israel awoke this morning to

the sounds of saber rattling. It seems that King

Nebuchadnezzar is once again firing up his powerful

Babylonian war machine. To the North of the land there

is a growing fear that Israel may be the next in a

growing line of conquests made by that nation.

Self-styled "prophet" Jeremiah referred to the

Babylonian troop movements as a "boiling cauldron to

the north" in a fiery public address given yesterday.

When asked directly about the threat Babylon posed,

Jeremiah issued a strong warning reiterating his costly

view that God is not pleased with Israel and that the

Babylonian threat could be seen as God’s discipline of

his people coming at the end of a long, long line of

clear warnings. Priests at the Temple of the Lord did

not offer comment on the current Babylonian threat.


(spot light comes up on extreme stage

left silhouetting the figure of a

newscaster behind an anchor desk. The

following text is read just as if it is

current news.)

There were several unconfirmed reports of another

ritual child sacrifice last night in Jerusalem. The

practice of child sacrifice, declared abominable,

idolatrous and illegal under the reforms of King

Josiah, was believed to have been eradicated. But a

growing number of reports have left some wondering how

much has really changed in Israel. Some have gone so

far as to suggest that the Josiahs’s well-intentioned

reforms have only penetrated to skin-deepth and that

pealing back the thin veneer of reform in Israel

reveals rampant idolatry, pagan practice, blatant

disregard for the widow, the fatherless and the alien




NEWSCASTER #2 (cont’d)

and even the spilling of innocent blood. Others claim

that this pessimistic view is really nothing more than

the work of doomsday prophet Jeremiah.


(back to stage right)

In an official press release this morning, the office

of the Temple of the Lord stated emphatically that the

claims of child sacrifice anywhere in Israel are

unsubstantiated. Priest and Chief Officer of the

Temple, Pashhur, stated that the Temple would be

conducting its own investigation, but that it did not

expect these wild accusations to hold up to scrutiny.

Pashhur went on to say that his office has been

tracking child-sacrifice statistics and is in a

position to assure the nation that there has been a

marked decrease in the abominable practice. When

pressed for more detail Pashhur was reluctant to

clarify further.


(back to stage left)

In related Temple news today, Temple leadership

threatened publicly to censure the enigmatic Jeremiah -

sometimes referred to the weeping prophet. Pashhur

stated with some regret that Jeremiah had been

"unresponsive" to directives coming from the Temple.

"He’s been instructed repeatedly to tone down his

rhetoric," Pashhur commented, "He flatly refuses to do

it. I will have to warn him in no uncertain terms that

there will be consequences." Jeremiah could not be

reached for comment. Eye-witnesses last report seeing

him walking resolutely toward Jerusalem carrying a

large pot.

The secne occurs in Pashhur’s office. There is a

large desk with a comfortable office chair for

Passhur. It is a well-appointed space that speaks

of wealth and power in good taste and moderation.

Opposite the desk there is a small folding chair.

This is where Jeremiah will sit for his review.

The scene reinforces the power dynamic between the

two characters. Pashhur sees the corralling of

this loose cannon Jeremiah as beneath his dignity

as the Chief Officer of the House of the Lord.

Pashhur has the full weight and authority of the

Temple structure behind him; Jeremiah is little

more than a nuisance to him. Jeremiah, on the

other hand, has only what he has always had: the

words of God burning on his tongue and the images

of God burning in his mind.

(before the lights come up, the

following text rolls up the screen)



Jeremiah 19:1-5

Thus said the LORD: Go and buy a potter’s

earthenware jug. Take with you some of the elders

of the people and some of the senior priests, and

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