the seduction

Mar 31, 2023

Don’t get down when you hear today’s first reading.

Jeremiah is having a bad day. He’s a bit overwhelmed with the negative response he is getting when he passes God’s message to the people. In short, Jeremiah is having a Jeremiad.

While we all have bad days, Jeremiah is very specific in his lament blaming God for his suffering: He is complaining that others are laying into him precisely because he is seeking to do what God has called him to do. Jeremiah begins his cry: “Lord you have seduced me… all day I am an object of scorn and everybody mocks me.”

Four centuries later ben Sirach picks up the same theme advising “if you aspire to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for an ordeal.”

I had an email conversation about this during the week with a friend who put the experience well: “Speak the truth and do what is right in the face of recrimination and people pile in on you.”

It’s a bit of an irony really since we are often taught that if we follow God our lives will be easier. Yet we know from our own experience that when we seek to live in relationship with God we seem to push the buttons of both foes and friends even more.  We might then try to live safely keeping our heads down and not upsetting anyone, but this lack of integrity wells up in us and like Jeremiah we find ourselves saying: “I will not mention him, I will speak in his name no more. But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones; I grow weary holding it in, I cannot endure it”.

Like the Emmaus disciples our hearts burn within us as we walk with Christ.

Perhaps our problem is that we forget that we are followers of Jesus who suffered and was put to death.

But then we forget too that our deepest human desire is not simply to be free of suffering and persecution, but to be at peace with God. When we live with this desire God immediately gives us others who share this desire, and who will hold us to the fire in our struggles.

Nothing on earth is as wonderful as this experience of friendship with those who want to spend eternity with us and who will help us to get there.

+++

FFF IN THE CAFE… Send your name and the name of a cafe or bar to john@fff.org.nz Scribble FFF on a table napkin, take a seat and wait.

DROP IN FOR A CHAT:

Monday 3 April 2023 (and every Monday)
10.00am at Moko (Kudos) in the Bush Inn Centre Christchurch (Directions) Trish

Tuesday 11 April 2023 (and second Tuesday of every month)
10.30am at Zenders 44 Hopkins Road, Newstead, Hamilton (Directions). Christina

Thursday 13 April 2023
10.30am at Zest Cafe Greeton 187 Chadwick Rd, Tauranga. (Directions) Frances

Sunday 23 April 2023 
11.00am at The Bakehouse 74 Main Street, Fairlie.  (Directions) Fr. Tien Cao.

Thursday 27 April 2023
10.30am at Zest Cafe Greeton 187 Chadwick Rd, Tauranga. (Directions) Frances

 

 

3 Comments

  1. “God gives us others who share this desire”. I really like this as I have found that it is such a wonderful experience and gift to be able to share my love of Jesus with like minded friends who I trust.

    Reply
  2. I live on Cape Cod, Massachusetts – I love the idea of meeting in cafes. We started a group 16 years ago, it is small – there are 12 on the list but only 5 that meet every Monday at 9 – it is basically a spiritual reading group. At first it was a conference call – now it is a Zoom call – we are not in the same state so this works well. We love it and look forward to our meetings. – Praise to you all in New Zealand.

    Reply
  3. Strong stuff today. Let it be so.

    Reply

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