Michaelangelo's Jeremiah

Weekly Evangelectionary for Sunday January 31st, 2016

Michaelangelo's Jeremiah

Michaelangelo’s Jeremiah – Detail

Texts:              Jeremiah 1:4-10; Psalm 71:1-6; I Corinthians 13:1-13; Luke 4:21-30

Theme:            We have been called, from before we were born, to be people who live the love of Jesus Christ in the world by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Message: 

The preacher’s challenge with the embarrassment of riches offered by this Sunday’s texts is how to handle I Corinthians 13. It has become so linked to weddings and marriage – especially vs. 4-8a – that the preacher will need to work hard to convince hearers to listen to it in another context. For in the context of this week’s readings it is a call text – as are the passages from Jeremiah and Luke.

Jeremiah was set apart for God’s purpose from before he was born – called to be used by God. Any suggestion that Jeremiah was too young, too inexperienced is rejected – Jeremiah had been called by God that is all he needed to know.

The lectionary chooses to divide Luke’s account of Jesus’ visit to Nazareth into two parts. Last week’s section included the passage from Isaiah – which Jesus announces to be his call when in Luke 4:21 he says “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your own hearing.” The reading for this week repeats that significant claim and moves on to look at the opposition stirred up by Jesus claim to be the Messiah. How could “Joseph’s son” have such a call? Here then was external opposition to answering the call of God. But Jesus will not be dissuaded from a call that had been on him from before he was born.

I Corinthians 13 needs to be set in its context: a discussion of the use of spiritual gifts in the church. Spiritual gifts exercise a call in our lives – the preacher is to preach; the one with the gift of helping is to help; and so on. Paul wants his readers to recognize that no matter what gift they have been called to us, they are to use it with love. No matter how flashy and exciting the gift – speaking the tongues of men and of angels; being a martyr for the faith; etc. – none of the gifts have meaning if not exercised with love. Thus Paul issues a call to all his readers to be people who love others in the ways outlined in this chapter.

The love Paul describes is no less a gift than preaching and tongues and prophecy. But it is not as exciting as those gifts – for it is not self-seeking. It is not as demanding as preaching which demands a response and tongues which requires an interpreter – for it is patient.

The call to use the gift of love given to us by the Holy Spirit and demonstrated in Jesus Christ is not just for iconic figures like Jeremiah and Jesus – it is also for ordinary Christians who live ordinary lives of following. All Christians have this call. We rejoice that before we were born we were set apart for this purpose. Neither internal doubt nor external opposition should prevent us from fulfilling our calling.

Hymns:      “Lord, speak to me that I may speak”

“God is love: come heaven adoring”

“The Servant King (From heaven you came, helpless babe)”  (Kendrick)

“Lord, you give the great commission” (Rowthorn)

“Arise, your light is come” (Duck)

“Though I may speak with bravest fire” (Hopson)

“Not for tongues of heaven’s angels” (Dudley-Smith)

“Ubi caritas et amor (Where true charity and love abide)” (Berthier)

Quotations:

            “Human inadequacy and inexperience provide the occasion for divine enablement.” ~ John A. Thompson

“To suggest that there was any parallel or relevance to them [the people of Nazareth] in the story of this Gentile widow was an insult. Did [Jesus] think that they, his aunts and uncles, sisters, brothers, cousins, friends and neighbors were going to admit to him that they were morally and spiritually poor, inadequate and resourceless, and call on him as their only hope? It was humiliating and offensive in the extreme.” ~ David Gooding

“Loving is what makes a person genuinely human. Love, however, must have as its object another person. Thus, A exists as human and as Christian only in loving B. One cannot be a completely isolated Christian. There must always be an active reference to at least one other person.” ~ Jerome Murphy-O’Connor

Prayers: (both based on I Corinthians 13:4-8a)

Love is patient; for our quick-temperedness:
Lord, have mercy.       Christ, have mercy.

Love is kind; for our indifference towards others:
Lord, have mercy.       Christ, have mercy.

Love is not envious; for our petty jealousies:
Lord, have mercy.       Christ, have mercy.

Love is not boastful; for our pretentiousness:
Lord, have mercy.       Christ, have mercy.

Love is not arrogant; for our opinionated views –
Lord, have mercy:       Christ, have mercy.

Love is not rude; for our crass behaviour:
Lord, have mercy.       Christ, have mercy.

Love does not insist on getting its own way; for our false sense of our own importance:
Lord, have mercy.       Christ, have mercy.

Love is not irritable; for our resentful behaviour:
Lord, have mercy.       Christ, have mercy.

Love does not rejoice in wrong-doing; for our rejoicing in all the wrong things:
Lord, have mercy.       Christ, have mercy.

May God show us mercy forgive us our sins against love
and lead us to life that lasts. AMEN.

from: http://opensourcespirituality.blogspot.ca/2010/02/prayer-based-on-1-corinthians-13.html

Lord,
Because love is patient…

Help me to be slow to judge, but quick to listen,

hesitant to criticize, but eager to encourage,

remembering your endless patience with me.

Because love is kind…

Help my words to be gentle and my actions to be thoughtful.

Remind me to smile and to say “Please” and “Thank You”

because those little things still mean so much.

Because love does not envy or boast, and it is not proud…

Help me have a heart that is humble and sees the good in others.

May I celebrate and appreciate all that I have and all that I am,

as well as doing the same for those around me.

Because love is not rude or self-seeking…

Help me to speak words that are easy on the ear and on the heart.

When I’m tempted to get wrapped up in my own little world,

remind me there’s a great big world out there full of needs and hurts.

Because love is not easily angered and keeps no record of wrongs…

Help me to forgive others as you have forgiven me.

When I want to hold onto a grudge,

gently help me release it

so I can reach out with a hand of love instead.

Because love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth…

Help me stand up for what is right and good.

May I defend the defenseless, and help the helpless.

Show me how I can make a difference.

Because love always protects and always trusts…

Help me to be a refuge for those around me.

When the world outside is harsh and cold,

may my heart be a place of acceptance and warmth.

Finally, because love always perseveres…

Help my heart continually beat with love for You and others.

Thank you for showing us what the word love really means. Amen.

~ written by Holley Gerth

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