Written by Pastor Mark
We are talking about our dreams and visions. More precisely this Sunday Courtney and I want to share YOUR visions and dreams. Courtney has already talked about how hard it is to get people to share their dreams. We are busy, we are distracted, and, if we are truthful, we just don’t feel as though our dreams could be important enough to share. Both biblical lessons speak to this spiritual state of uneasiness.
Jeremiah (his name means Yahweh exults) is young. There are very few characters in the Bible who are as sad as Jeremiah. He is sad that the people are worshiping the wrong gods. He is angry that the poor are being oppressed. At times he feels as though God has abandoned him and left him to his own devices. In today’s lesson, at the very beginning of his ministry, he assumes God could not possibly speak through him because of his inexperience. He is terrified to speak. Speaking in public is the purported number one fear of Americans. Jerry Seinfeld once humorously pointed out that we are probably more afraid to speak at a funeral than to be in the casket!
We are reminded along with Jeremiah that it is God who will prepare and send us. This message does not depend on our own experience and wisdom. Jesus on the other hand has plenty of confidence and he is received well by the people in the synagogue. There is only one problem. Jesus runs smack into the middle of the expectations of the community. They’ve heard he did great things in other places, now they’d like to see for themselves.
Jesus goes on to introduce an outside the box concept. God loves everybody. This was so shocking to the people of Jesus’ home town that they banished him and tried to throw him off a cliff! (You can see why people might be less than eager to share their dreams this Sunday!) The people assumed God was on their side and their side alone. Jesus points out scriptures that indicate God has acted powerfully in the past to help those who are not insiders, but are non-Jewish outsiders. This new concept isn’t going to really get through to the disciples until Peter sees a sheet coming down out of heaven with all sorts of unclean food on it in the Book of Acts.
God loves everybody. This is a radical message. Surely there must be some password we need to learn, or some price we have to pay to earn God’s love. No. According to Jeremiah, God knew us before we were formed us in our mother’s wombs. God has consecrated us to share this word of love with everyone we know. This word of love is rarely communicated using words, however. It is shared by loving, embracing and serving others in Christ’s name.
Quotes for the Week
Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul, the blueprint of your ultimate achievements. Napoleon Hill
You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete. Buckminster Fuller
Dreams are renewable. No matter what our age or condition, there are still untapped possibilities within us and new beauty waiting to be born. Dr. Dale Turner
Originality is the fine art of remembering what you hear but forgetting where you heard it. Laurence J. Peter
1st Lesson Jeremiah 1:4-10 (NRSV)
Now the word of the LORD came to me saying, 5 “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.” 6 Then I said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.” 7 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. 8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD.” 9 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. 10 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.”
Gospel Lesson Luke 4:21-30 (The Message)
“You’ve just heard Scripture make history. It came true just now in this place.”
22 All who were there, watching and listening, were surprised at how well he spoke. But they also said, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son, the one we’ve known since he was a youngster?”
23-27 He answered, “I suppose you’re going to quote the proverb, ‘Doctor, go heal yourself. Do here in your hometown what we heard you did in Capernaum.’ Well, let me tell you something: No prophet is ever welcomed in his hometown. Isn’t it a fact that there were many widows in Israel at the time of Elijah during that three and a half years of drought when famine devastated the land, but the only widow to whom Elijah was sent was in Sarepta in Sidon? And there were many lepers in Israel at the time of the prophet Elisha but the only one cleansed was Naaman the Syrian.”
28-30 That set everyone in the meeting place seething with anger. They threw him out, banishing him from the village, then took him to a mountain cliff at the edge of the village to throw him to his doom, but he gave them the slip and was on his way.
Questions for the Week
- What is one thing you dream of, but feel unable to bring to reality?
- Who do you think of as visionary?
- What is it about them that you appreciate?