God calls us to be responsible citizens. Jeremiah’s call included being overwhelmed by national and international events—to be set over nations, to build up and tear down. He lived in a time of governmental corruption, of wars and the destruction of his homeland. And God called him to pronounce judgment on the corruption.
John Wesley reminds us that we are called to live “acts of mercy.” For him, that meant meeting the immediate physical needs of persons—food, housing, medical care, and employment. Each week, the people called Methodists were asked to contribute to a fund for meeting the physical needs of the poor. When there is a crisis today, God’s people respond well to efforts to meet the same kinds of need.
Wesley didn’t use the language of “acts of justice,” but he lived them out. He was always calling for reforms, such as cutting the size of the military to free up funds for the care of the poor. Christians in our day are also called to seek justice for the poor and disenfranchised in our world.
Biblical justice means dealing with the social, political, and economic structures that cause hunger, homelessness, and lack of healthcare. Why is it that children are not getting adequate food in the richest nation on earth? Why are there people who die because they don’t have health insurance and can’t afford to go to the doctor? What do we do about racial and economic disparities? We feel overwhelmed when we think about all these issues and wonder what our faith calls us to do about them. Jeremiah tells us that God calls us to change our world.
Lord, grant me courage to put my faith to practical applications to help others. Amen.
The readings from the Hebrew scriptures share a common theme of calling. Jeremiah is called at a young age to be a prophet. God knew and set apart Jeremiah even in the womb. The psalmist also expresses confidence in God’s call, because God knew him even before he was born. In the same way, God knows each one of us and has a plan for our lives that is not an afterthought. In this First Corinthians passage (often read at weddings), Paul speaks of love. But this love is not infatuation and is not based on emotion. It is intentional, strong, gritty, and unselfish. In Luke we see that many struggle with the fact that Jesus’ calling is also to serve the marginalized. Jesus reveals that God has a missional heart.
Read Jeremiah 1:4-10. What is God calling you to do? How does your passion intersect with the world’s needs?
Read Psalm 71:1-6. God promises not to make our lives easy or perfectly safe but to be with us when we face challenges. In a world that seems increasingly violent, how do you find assurance of God’s continuous presence?
Read 1 Corinthians 13. God calls us to a vocation of love. How can you be more loving in your daily work or activities?
Read Luke 4:21-30. How do you see God’s call in those you know best? How can you look to minister to the outsider and the oppressed?
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