God Is God

If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” Then within me there is something like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot. (Jeremiah 20.9)


Our readings today concern the pain inherent in answering God’s call to die to self, live to truth and tell that truth back into the world. Jeremiah, Paul and Jesus, like so many of the heroes and heroines of our faith, are subject to that pain. They speak of death but that death through which true life is found. “Dead to sin” and “alive to God”, we come to know, says St Paul in Romans 6, that “death no longer has dominion”.

If you want to see a prophet who had a rough time, you need look no further than Jeremiah. He was ridiculed and mocked, was never listened to, was thrown into jail and even dragged into exile when he was shown to be right. Jeremiah was recognized long after his death but never during his life. He was the epitome of the outcast, outlaw prophet.
Yet Jeremiah continued always to speak truth into the world.

Why would anyone do that, when all they get in return is kicked and punched and abused by those who refuse to listen?

Jeremiah, throughout the book about his life work, is a man of intense vision. It is neither a vision of destruction and judgement nor one of a man of God’s own triumph and vindication. It’s not even Jeremiah’s own vision. The entire book, up to the prophet’s expulsion to Egypt, is filled with tension with a stubborn group of people who want to do things their way and therefore against the Way of God. Even when he’s in Egypt, the scene keeps playing out. Confrontation runs through this man’s life simply because God has placed God’s vision in him.

From Chapter 20, Jeremiah starts to describe the God-vision inside him as “a burning fire shut up in my bones”. He wants to stop it but he just can’t. The fire points to something deeper, more profound, more urgent than his own identity and even any concern for his so-called rights as a human being. God keeps sending. Jeremiah keeps going!

The Gospel in us is just such a fire, just such God-given vision. Can you feel it?

Well you know then, don’t you? When you speak with grace and truth with people, many just won’t take it. They will argue with you, if they have courage. They will stab you in the back if not. Some will simply ignore you altogether.
But some people will receive the word of God in you. That’s why the fire burns. God bless you. God bless you.

~ by Fr Tim Ardouin on July 3, 2014.

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