With the schools going back this week, a constant refrain in our household over the last week has been “I don’t want to go back to school”. And why would you? Summer holidays are the best. The weather is good, you can get up when you want, wear what you want, eat when and what you want and go to bed when it suits. When you are on holiday, you live according to your own agenda and preferences. The return to school means wearing what you are told, being where you are told when you are told and eating when it’s meal time. You have to live according to someone else’s agenda
I wanted to take a look at the call of Jeremiah today because it illustrates an interesting point, one raised by Jesus in our reading last week, that prophets are not well regarded in their homeland. Jeremiah is told that God has great plans for him, plans hatched before he was! Yet Jeremiah is reluctant to accept this call and begins making excuses for not taking it up. He follows a long tradition of prophets seeking to avoid the call like Moses and Jonah. Yet this reluctance is what gives the call the authenticity it needs for us to know it comes from God. Jeremiah wouldn’t choose the life of a prophet given how they are treated, so for him to become one proves it is God’s plan
And this is the lesson for us. Jesus showed us how life is meant to be lived yet a look at our world shows us that the world isn’t right yet. God has called us out of our lives into the church so we can speak God’s word to the world; show this world how we are meant to live. If we are honest, we’d rather not at times; we’d prefer to live for ourselves. We’d prefer not to forgive that person, we’d prefer to keep our resources for ourselves, we’d prefer to only associate with those we like. Yet the fact we feel these calls shows us the call does not come from inside us, but from outside. Our reluctance is simply an acknowledgement that it’s not our initiative but God’s to do these things. And, like Jeremiah, if we do follow the call we are assured of God resourcing us and supporting us as we do it. So yes, we have to give up our selfish desire and live according to another’s agenda, but that is the way we are meant to be, and there is comfort in that.