Sunday’s Scripture ~ Jeremiah 1:4-10.
This Sunday the Tuskawilla Family begins a new six-week sermon series – From Wreck to Restoration – as we study texts from the book of Jeremiah. We begin our study with the prophet’s call story.
Earlier this week I had the privilege to spend time with my sweet sister-in-law, Vivian and nephew, Jacob. Jacob is 11 months old and such a joyful little boy. And with his age comes a bit more suspicion about people he is not familiar. Upon seeing Andrew and me, Jacob was cautious and gave us the look of “I think I know you…but my mama better stay right close.”
We spent the afternoon playing with toys and swimming. Andrew took Jacob to the piano for a lesson and I watched as Jacob visibly eased into comfort with Andrew. It was not necessary for Vivian to be in Jacob’s line of sight; Jacob knew he was okay.
Me on the other hand – Jacob’s unfamiliarity lingered – and that was okay. I remained near. I spoke kindly. I smiled. And just before Andrew and I left to come home, while Jacob was playing on the floor and I sat nearby, he crawled into my lap and wrapped his arms around me in tHe best Jacob-size hug.
It won my greatest hug of the day award.
In that moment, Jacob knew me. I was (am) a safe place for him. I was (am) someone that loves him. With me – with Andrew and me – our nephew will always have a family and be at home.
The book of Jeremiah – like all our prophetic texts – tells the story of God’s people being anxious, suspicious, and hesitant in returning to God. They are in exile in Babylon. They hope God has not forgotten them. They wonder if God will forgive them. The prophets affirm that God is with them and that God knows them…but I can imagine the people of Israel and Judah looked suspiciously at the prophets just like Jacob looked at me early Monday afternoon.
The people’s suspicion was okay. And God remained. Through the prophets God spoke words of kindness and affirmation. Through the prophets God communicated a message of hope and salvation. The people would return. And no matter what, they were (we are) God’s children and God was (is) their (our) God.
God wants each of us to let down our guards, to suntended our hesitation, and to climb into God’s arms. God wants to and does hold us close – most especially in the moments when we experience exile. We are members of God’s family. With God we have our home and God is always welcoming us home.
I encourage you to draw near to God. In doing so we move from wreck to restoration.
Prayer: “Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning. Born of the one light, Eden saw play. Praise with elation, praise every morning, God’s re-creation of the new day.”* Amen
*”Morning Has Broken,” The United Methodist Hymnal 145.