It took a year to read the Bible, then almost 9 months to read the Apocrypha. Now, I'm going to try to offer reflections on the Narrative Lectionary. But, I won't be posting daily--at least, for a while.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Changing Ways and Minds, a Reflection on Jeremiah 18:1-11

The Lord takes Jeremiah to the potter's house where a potter working at his wheel crafting a vessel of clay. If that vessel doesn't turn out right, then the potter reworks the clay into another vessel.

The Lord says to Jeremiah, "Can't I do the same to you, O house of Israel?"

We can read this as history or prophecy. Sin has consequences.

And we can read this as a reminder that although God is our creator, we are judged on our response. And, we need to remember that we can rectify our wrong responses.

Even in our sinning, we can repent. We can change. And, also, the Lord can change. The Lord said to Jeremiah that day, "You've got some time. I can change my mind. Turn now from your evil ways. Start doing what you are supposed to be doing."

Jeremiah may have been remembering appeals that the people had made during times of oppression before. For example, at a time when the nation was being oppressed by the Ammonites, they asked God to save them. They asked this even though they had abandoned God and turned toward foreign gods. God did help them because, we are told, "he could no longer bear to see Israel suffer" (Judges 10:6-18). And not just Israel. God had coerced Jonah into preaching to the sinful Nineveh, "Tell them I am going to destroy them unless they turn away from their violent acts." Then, when they did repent, "God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon the and he did not do it" (Jonah 3:1-10).

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