Prepare to Listen. Light the pink candle and the first 2 purple candles. Be still with this reminder: The Lord’s mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
Prayerfully Read Jeremiah 1:4-9
4Now 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.’ 6Then I said, ‘Ah, Lord GOD! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.’ 7But 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. 8Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD.’ 9Then 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.’
Technically this isn’t a story of a call but of a summons to ministry. Jeremiah wasn’t asked or given an opportunity to volunteer; he was told he’d already been appointed “a prophet to the nations.” He had no choice, which didn’t stop his protest with the lame excuses that he was just a boy and a lousy speaker. He knew a prophet’s work was thankless and had no desire to take it on.
God was unsympathetic, and rebuked his reluctance: “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.” Before he could protest further, God touched his mouth and said, “Now I have put my words in your mouth.” Not surprisingly, of all the prophets, Jeremiah uses the phrase “thus says the LORD,” the most often. There was no freedom of choice for Jeremiah. God’s word was in his mouth and he must speak it.
As we journey through Advent and reflect on stories like Jeremiah’s, it’s a good time to remember our own call to follow Jesus. From our perspective, it may have seemed like we had a choice, made our own decision, but from God’s perspective we too were summoned. Not to be a Jeremiah, boldly proclaiming, “thus says the Lord,” but to be ourselves so God’s call to proclaim by word and deed, a message of Jesus that is inclusive of all peoples may be fulfilled in us. We may feel as inadequate as Jeremiah and invent our own excuses. God will listen and then empower us through the Spirit to go.
Remember when you responded to Jesus’ call and affirm that today.
Respond to Jesus
God of Jeremiah, help me today to obey your call however inadequate and helpless I may feel. Amen.
Live obediently. Accept God’s call to speak God’s word.