Saturday, July 28, 2018
Today, in Mercy, we hear from Jeremiah, a “sock-it-to-‘em” prophet. He lived in a disastrous time for Judah, and had to deliver some difficult challenges to the people. Today’s passage is called the Temple Sermon. It confronts his listeners with the fact that there is a big difference between their professed faith and their daily practice. In other words, they are living a lie.
The people seem to think that no matter how idolatrous or immoral their choices are, the Temple building will protect them from God’s anger. It’s a mentality that might remind us of the film “The Godfather”, where the mafioso kill and cheat all week but always fulfill their sacramental obligations.
God tells Jeremiah to go stand at the Temple gate and tell the people that their fake piety won’t work. Instead they are to:
- thoroughly reform their ways and deeds
- deal justly with their neighbor
- no longer oppress the resident alien, the orphan, and the widow
- no longer shed innocent blood in this place (cease human sacrifice)
- or follow strange gods to their own harm
Otherwise, Jeremiah says, they risk losing God because God will not live in a desecrated Temple.
The message to us that comes wrapped in the ancient words of Jeremiah?
- Examine your life.
- Is our faith sincere, proven by our practices?
- Do we give others not only the benefit of the doubt, but also the benefit of our kindness?
- Do we support and foster immigrants, orphans, widows … in other words the vulnerable?
- Do we stand against the suffering of innocents caused by war and unjust policy?
- Do we resist the “gods” competing for our souls — all the destructive isms and addictions of our time?
Otherwise, Jeremiah says, we risk losing God because God will not live in a heart-temple that is desecrated.
Music: Fill This Temple – Don Moen