Over the next months we follow the lectionary into the book of Jeremiah.
Join us at our Sunday services or read along:
- Aug 21: Jeremiah’s Calling (Jeremiah 1:4-10)
- Aug 28: Jeremiah’s Imagery (Jeremiah 2:4-13)
- Sept 4: Jeremiah’s Formation (Jeremiah 18:1-11)
- Sept 11: Jeremiah’s Terror (Jeremiah 4:11-28)
- Sept 18: Jeremiah’s Lament (Jeremiah 8:18-9:1)
- Sept 25: Jeremiah’s Land (Jeremiah 32:1-15)
- Oct 2: Lamentations (Lamentations 1:1-6, 3:19-26)
- Oct 9: Jeremiah’s Shalmon (Jeremiah 29:1-7)
- Oct 16: Jeremiah’s Hope (Jeremiah 31:27-34)
Rev Dr Geoff Broughton introduces our series – The School of the Prophets: Jeremiah – below:
The prophecies of Jeremiah are difficult and grim reading. For Jeremiah, according to Kathleen O’Connor, ‘the future takes two radically different and contradictory shapes. One future expects impending doom and destruction, “a bad place,” an in-breaking dystopia about to crush the world (Jer. 1-20). The second anticipates, briefly but no less vigorously, a future paradise, a-soon-to-come “good place,” a utopia (Jer. 30-31).’ The ‘bad news’ we confront each day makes skipping to Jeremiah’s “good place” very tempting. The School of the Prophets, however, train us in enduring the bad news as well exclaiming the good news. It is a rigorous education that deepens and extends our faith in numerous ways. As we read – even re-reading the text (returning patiently to those difficult sections) – adopting a hospitable posture (Leunig reminds us that nothing can be loved at speed) we discover what some call a ‘holy lingering’ (Lectio divina). Such reading enables us to attending to six critical details:
- Genre… this guides how to read and how to respond.
- Rhetoric… what Jeremiah is doing with his message.
- Drama… scene, actors, audience, perspective, improvisation.
- Metaphor… everywhere in prophetic books, but often unnoticed.
- Specificity… vague/precise, ambiguous/polysemous, allegorical/ symbolic.
- Tensions/Questions … politics/personal, love/justice, lament/praise, covenant/unfaithfulness.
Living the tensions – the “unresolvedness” – in the school of a prophet such as Jeremiah is a discipleship challenge. The balm of the prophets is a healing intervention for people who have lost everything, not clever answers for people who want to know and control everything.