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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Monday, February 4, 2019

Today’s Scripture Reading | Jeremiah 1:4–10

Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, “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.” Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.” 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, Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.” 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. 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.” (NRSV)

Have you ever felt a responsibility to take action about something but doubted your capacity to figure out what to say or what to do? I know I have!

The book of Jeremiah was written in a time of trauma and tragedy. It describes the period before, during, and after the Babylonian exile—a period of war, loss, grief, and displacement.

Jeremiah was given a lot of responsibility and power despite the fact that he felt ill-equipped to answer God’s call. He was given the power to destroy and demolish, the power to build and plant.

In a way, we all have these same powers to some degree. With a word we can destroy someone’s hope. By our actions (or inactions) we might contribute to the destruction of a dream or perpetuate injustice. But we also have the power to build and to plant, to develop new possibilities, and to take a role in cocreating, with God’s help, new and renewed life.

Holy God of all creation, help me to speak against injustice wherever I see it, and help me to see it more clearly and thoroughly. Put words in my mouth that need to be spoken and courage in my heart to help me act. Amen.

Written by Nanette Sawyer, Associate Pastor for Discipleship and Small Group Ministry

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