This week in our Sanctuary Service we will examine Jeremiah 2:1-13, a passage that I think applies especially well to the times in which we are living — on personal, professional, family, and even societal levels.
In this chapter, God sings a sad song, longing for an earlier time when the people were faithful and devoted to being who God called them to be. It goes like this:
I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sown. What wrong did your ancestors find in me that they went far from me, and went after worthless things, and became worthless themselves?
They went after worthless things and become worthless themselves. What a statement! Somehow, probably gradually, they changed and became someone they didn’t originally intend to be.
Have you ever experienced anything like that? One day everything’s on track and going well — and the next thing you know, your work, your relationships, your group, or the organization you’re in has become something entirely different from what you planned and anticipated?
How did you get there? When did it happen? Why didn’t you notice? What have you lost?
These are the questions I think this passage from Jeremiah encourages us to consider. These are questions we all must ask ourselves when we examine our lives and reflect upon where we are now and how well that aligns with where we intend to go.
What I think Jeremiah is urging us to explore is the unintentional, unwanted “becoming” that happens so gradually you really don’t even notice it. That is, of course, until something happens to make you stop and look back to where you began and you realize that you’re somewhere you really didn’t want to go — or you’ve become someone you didn’t really want to be.
Isn’t that how it is with not only personal relationships, but also with careers and organizations and, on a much larger scale, nations and cultures? Who are we becoming when we’re not paying attention — when those day-to-day, seemingly minor decisions lead us somewhere we really didn’t mean to go? And when we realize we’ve become something other than what we hoped to be, is it possible to correct our course?
The good news is that we can change direction; we can make a conscious decision to do this, not that. We can follow a different path to where we originally meant to go. We can see things differently and change our plans.
I look forward to exploring these ideas with you this Sunday in the Sanctuary.
Grace and Peace,
The word of the LORD came to me, saying: Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem, Thus says the LORD: I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sown. Israel was holy to the LORD, the first fruits of his harvest. All who ate of it were held guilty; disaster came upon them, says the LORD.
Hear the word of the LORD, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel. Thus says the LORD: What wrong did your ancestors find in me that they went far from me, and went after worthless things, and became worthless themselves? They did not say, “Where is the LORD who brought us up from the land of Egypt, who led us in the wilderness, in a land of deserts and pits, in a land of drought and deep darkness, in a land that no one passes through, where no one lives?” I brought you into a plentiful land to eat its fruits and its good things. But when you entered you defiled my land, and made my heritage an abomination.
The priests did not say, “Where is the LORD?” Those who handle the law did not know me; the rulers transgressed against me; the prophets prophesied by Baal, and went after things that do not profit. Therefore once more I accuse you, says the LORD, and I accuse your children’s children.
Cross to the coasts of Cyprus and look, send to Kedar and examine with care; see if there has ever been such a thing. Has a nation changed its gods, even though they are no gods? But my people have changed their glory for something that does not profit.
Be appalled, O heavens, at this, be shocked, be utterly desolate, says the LORD, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living water, and dug out cisterns for themselves, cracked cisterns that can hold no water.