Commemoration of Jeremiah
The Lord be with you
We celebrate, on June 26, the Commemoration of Jeremiah. The prophet Jeremiah was active as God’s prophet to the southern kingdom of Judah around 627 to 582 BC. As a prophet he preached, witnessed, and lived through the Babylonian siege and eventual destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BC. In his preaching, he often used symbols, such as an almond and a boiling pot (Jeremiah 1:11-14), wine jars (13:12-14), and a potter at work (18:1-17). His entire prophetic ministry was a sermon, communicating through word and deed God’s anger toward His rebellious people. Jeremiah suffered repeated rejection and persecution by his countrymen. As far as can be known, Jeremiah died in Egypt, having been taken there forcibly. He is remembered and honored for fearlessly calling God’s people to repentance.
The book the bears his name seems to be a collection of his writings gathered by a second party, perhaps by his scribe Baruch. It is not in chronological order. Reading Jeremiah is like entering the cavernous darkness of another person’s frustration and despair (cf 4:22-26). The Lord calls Jeremiah – the “iron” prophet (1:18) – to preach a hapless message of repentance to the stony hearts of sinful Judah. Jeremiah pours out his strength in the task, hammering the people with prophecy after prophecy, firing them with repented warning of judgment (23:29). The result is one of the longest compositions in the Bible (52 chapters), most of which is pure rebuke or calls for the people to turn from their sin. Yet at the heart of Jeremiah, shining brightly as a ray of light through the darkness, appears the aptly named “book of comfort” (chs 30-33), one of the brightest Old Testament prophecies of everlasting salvation. Indeed, people in Jesus’ day even identified Jesus with Jeremiah (Matthew 16:13-14).
The Eastern Church remembers Jeremiah on May 1.
Prayer: Lord God, heavenly Father, through the prophet Jeremiah, You continued the prophetic pattern in teaching Your people the true faith and demonstrating through miracles Your presence in creation to heal it of its brokenness. Grant that Your Church may see in Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the final end times prophet whose teaching and miracles continue in Your Church through the healing medicine of the Gospel and the Sacraments through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Other appropriate prayers
• For the conversion of Jews
• For repentance and the return to the true faith of so-call Christians
• For those who proclaim the Gospel in hostile environments
• For the Church, that it may remain faithful to Christ and his promises
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert