Newsletter March 2015
Jeremiah had a tough gig: picked out from the crowd by God when he was knee-high to a grasshopper, he got the job of telling the current leadership of Israel that they were useless, rotten to the core and that all their policies were doomed to failure. He got to spend time at the bottom of a well for his troubles. We don’t all have Jeremiah’s rather challenging circumstances, but perhaps we are all called into God’s mission and to that extent can resonate with some of Jeremiah’s experience of that call: you can find it at Jeremiah 1 vv 4-10.
Although Jeremiah hears the ‘word of the Lord’ clearly and discovers that God knows him deeply and lovingly, he’s not keen on becoming the prophet that God wants him to be. “Lord, I don’t know how to speak, I’m too young!” That’s two excuses for the price of one. We can all relate to that: God can just feel too challenging at times. Jeremiah’s problem (and ours) is that God really doesn’t have much time for excuses. Rather than gently coaxing Jeremiah into mission, God simply ignores his protestations and bluntly demands that he gets on with it: “Do not say ‘I’m too young/old/ shy/boring/ordinary/busy/ill-equipped (delete as appropriate) for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak.” Then before Jeremiah has a chance to get his next excuse in, God heads him off at the pass, “Do not be afraid of them”. Again, this isn’t comforting advice, it’s a demand. Like Jeremiah, we all have fears and inhibitions about sharing our faith, all of us are reluctant disciples from time to time. It’s tough, but if we really want to be involved in the mission of God, fear has to be faced down. But if we are engaged in the mission of God, then God promises to be with us, just as he did for Jeremiah, just as the risen Jesus promised to be with his disciples at the very end of Matthew’s gospel. Disciples don’t know what the future holds, they don’t know what will happen when they try to live out their calling, but they do know that God will be with them: and that is all they need. More than that, they will experience the joy and wonder of God making himself known through them, just as Jeremiah did, as God declares, “I have put my words in your mouth.”
All that is by way of an elaborate introduction to our Assembly on March 4th at Christ Church, Stantonbury. As part of our commitment to prayer as the bedrock of our engagement in mission, we will be exploring that encounter of Jeremiah’s through prayer and opening out our response to it, inviting God to shape our call into his mission in the world. You might like to prepare for the Assembly by spending some time between now and then immersing yourself prayerfully in the passage.
I don’t think that Stephen Mosedale will see his role in leading our coMPass course on Choosing the Right Government in quite the same negative terms as Jeremiah(!) but I am sure that the course will be lively, interesting and help you form a ‘Christian mind’ towards some of the issues that will be central to the General Election in May. The course begins with a Theology Forum special in which some of our local politicians will be engaging discussion on Faith in Politics, see the flyer in the mailing. Do come and sign up for the course.
And, finally, staying on the political theme, we are in the throes of arranging some hustings meetings for the Parliamentary candidates towards the end of April. Watch this space.