Sermon January 13 2019 – Drama

Now trending: drama Book of the Bible: Jeremiah
1st UCC – Carlisle 1/13/19
Jeremiah 38:1- __ Jeremiah thrown in a cistern

Have you had the opportunity to watch a Spanish soap opera? Talk about dramatic statements and action. Every moment in those shows seem to be full of tension and drama.
This is the kind of dialogue Juanita te amo! pero amo a tu hermano. (Juanita I love you; but I love your brother) The dialogue consistently seems almost over the top when it comes to suspense and intrigue with the Spanish soap opera. Perhaps it’s is not so different from some of the dramatic shows you might find on television in the United States. Whether it is English soap operas, such as general hospital or as the world turns, or the reality shows which are so popular, Survivor, Keeping up with the Kardashians or American idols, drama seems to be a main fixture. I guess drama is a part of life. It certainly seems to a priority, or a trending presence in shows, and perhaps in life. I think it is possible that some people enjoy the drama, thrive on the dramatic turns, whether it is life or in television and movies.
When I was in seminary, I took on a couple of classes on the Old Testament, also known also Hebrew scriptures. We spent some time looking at the Prophets which have books names after them in that portion of the Bible. And we spent some time looking at Jeremiah. I have to admit, I was not initially a huge fan of the prophet Jeremiah in seminary. Everything seemed so dramatic in the book. If you have read the book of Jeremiah, you may notice the dramatic points of this biblical book. Jeremiah spent a fair amount of time complaining to God about his situation, and what he is being called to do. He was in conflict with a number of persons during the course of this book of the bible. He was involved in dramatic events. It is scripture that is filled with tension, worry and drama.

The texts found in this book are not in chronological order so it makes it a little more challenging to follow the course of this book. From scriptural references, we learn that Jeremiah’s prophetic ministry began in approx. 626 b.c.e and ended sometime after 586 BCE (fall of kingdom of Judah). His ministry was immediately preceded by that of Habakkuk, another prophet who was a contemporary, and Obadiah may have been also. Since Ezekiel began his ministry in Babylon in 593, he too was a later contemporary of Jeremiah in Jerusalem. Jeremiah was a member of the priestly household of Hilkiah. His hometown was Anathoth (1:1), so he may have been a descendant of Abiathar (1Ki 2:26), a priest during the days of King Solomon.
Much of the words Jeremiah shared were words of condemnation and judgment. Early in the book he pleaded with the community to repent, but they do not listen. He was led by God in time to predict the invasion and the eventual fall of the kingdom of Judah. He speaks of the corruption of the people, the sins of the community and of the false prophets. Jeremiah does refer to redemption and restoration, but this will happen after the people of Judah are overthrown and exiled.
It seems as though because he offered bleak future for the community, that he encounters resistance and challenges. In chapter 18, There were people who have said that they wanted to kill Jeremiah. Scholars suggest that these people are most likely from the three offices of religious office (prophets, priests, and counselors) (Meeks 1989, 1149 footnote to verses 18:18-23). They were unsuccessful, and Jeremiah continued his ministry. In Chapter 20, he had a conflict with Pashur, one of the priest at that time. Jeremiah had been prophesying that disaster would befall the town because the people had “stiffened their necks”, refusing to hear the Lord’s words. Pashur, in response, hit him, and then made sure he was put into stocks. In time, Jeremiah was let go, but it is another instance of conflict.
In Chapter 26, he has another confrontation with the priests and the prophets their response to his prophesying against the city is they proclaim he deserves to die. The officials of the city and evidence is given that Jeremiah is faithfully connected to god. The king listens and the city is saved, and Jeremiah is let go. In Chapter 28 there is the verbal battle between Hananiah and Jeremiah(28:1-17). God again spoke to Jeremiah and gave him a command. Jeremiah heeded the voice of God and makes a yoke and puts it upon himself. He then proceeded to call out to those in the community of what would happen to them, that they would be . Hananiah, another prophet from the community intervened, proclaiming that Israel would successfully revolt under the Babylonian Kingdom and be free in two years. After giving this message, he then breaks the yoke from Jeremiah’s neck. The only thing that is noteworthy after this encounter is that God states Hananiah would be dead before the end of the year. This actually did happen. And then Babylon conquered and destroyed Judah, and Hananiah did die before the end of the year.
In Chapter 37, Jeremiah was accused of deserting the community. Despite his denial, he was beaten up and then imprisoned. He was accused by a man named Irijah. Ijijah was the grandson of a man named Hananiah. This may have been the same Hanaiah that Jeremiah prophetically battled in chapter 28. More drama as the conflict continues. The final major conflict occurs in Chapter 38. This is the reading from Jeremiah we hear today. This confrontation has to do with Jeremiah preaching to those around to submit and go with Chaldeans (Babylonians) instead of staying in the city. Those who stay in the city will “die by the sword (verse 2)”. Some of the court officials feel this kind of talk is treasonous. They approach the king and proclaim that Jeremiah should die because this will affect the mindset of the soldiers. . Then in a drama like twist, the officials decide to put him into a cistern. Jeremiah is eventually rescued by a man named Ebed-melech.

This book is similar to Isaiah in that the end of the book, there are a number of prophesies toward the countries surrounding Israel (Egypt, Philistia, Moab, Ammon, Edom Damascus, Kedar and Hazor (Arabia), Elam, and Babylon. It is unique in that the scribe of this book is known and is mentioned. His name was Baruch, and he had a close connection to Jeremiah.
Overall, Jeremiah reveals quite a bit about his personality throughout this biblical book.
He reflected about his efforts frequently was quite self critical. Although timid by nature (1:6), he received the Lord’s assurance that he would become strong and courageous (1:18; 6:27; 15:20). In his “confessions” (see 11:18-23; 12:1-4; 15:10-21; 17:12-18; 18:18-23; 20:7-18 and notes) he laid bare the deep struggles of his inmost being, sometimes making startling statements about his feelings toward God (12:1; 15:18). On occasion, he engaged in calling for justice against his personal enemies (12:1-3; 15:15; 17:18; 18:19-23; see note on Ps 5:10) – he did this enough that there is actually an English word “jeremiad,” referring to a denunciatory tirade or complaint. Jeremiah, so often expressing his anguish of spirit [4:19; 9:1; 10:19-20; 23:9), has justly been called the “weeping prophet.” (NIV Study Bible-introduction to Jeremiah]
SO I think it is clear we can observe the dramatic nature of this book. There are some other things to notice. Jeremiah is the longest book in the Bible, containing more words than any other book. Although a number of chapters were written mainly in prose (chs. 7; 11; 16; 19; 21; 24-29; 32-45), Jeremiah was often instructed to use figurative or literal symbolism to highlight his message: a ruined and useless belt (13:1-11) wine jars, celibacy of the prophet and absence of a relationship, a potter and his clay, a smashed clay jar (19:1-12), two baskets of figs, a yoke of straps and crossbars (ch. 27), buying a field in a time of war, a scroll of Israel’s misdeeds, large stones in a brick pavement (43:8-13). not to enter a house where there is a funeral meal or where there is feasting (16:5-9),
In spite of the drama that surrounds this book. The message by Jeremiah is similar to what we have heard before. Judgment was coming unless sincere repentance took place. As the impending Babylonian was drawing closer, Jeremiah encourage the people to submit and not rebel against Babylon. God was concerned about accountability and Jeremiah spoke on that. But the underlying message or restoration and grace for the community was to occur in the future. Mercy and covenant faithfulness would triumph over wrath. Beyond the judgment would come restoration and renewal. Israel would be restored, the nations that crushed her would be crushed, and the old covenants (with Israel, David and the Levites) would be honored. God would make a new covenant with his people in which he would write his law on their hearts.
Thanks be to God and may the people of God say together, amen.

April, 28, 2019 In Through the Out Door

Book of Daniel – In through the out door 1st Sunday after Easter
Daniel 5:5-12 1st ucc carlisle

It seems quite clear as to why the Book of Daniel follows the Book of Ezekiel in the canon of the books of the Bible. I think they are both unique when it comes to prophetic text. The Book of Daniel is considered a prophetic book, although I am not sure it is seen in the traditional setting. This book contains is interpretation of a couple of dreams, 2 miracles occurred, prophesy written on a wall, and several visions/dreams that speak of the end times.
While these events described in Daniel are unusual and not really found in other locations in the Bible, it is similar to some of the vents and acts described in the book of Ezekiel. Last month we looked through the Book of Ezekiel and found some […]

2019-05-22T14:12:15-04:00April 28th, 2019|Sermon January 13 2019 - Drama|0 Comments

April 21, 2019 Resurrection Joy

Resurrection Joy
First UCC – Carlisle 4/21/19
John 20:1-18

When we woke up this morning, it is likely that many of us experienced the sun shining in the east, with blue skies telling us we are going to have an enjoyable and wonderful day. My brief drive to work today certainly points to the suggestion that we will have a beautiful and joyful day today, we have sunshine and it seems as though spring is here. Part of yesterday was quite nice. Saturday afternoon also had some nice sun with a gentle breeze. It seemed like we really were fortunate to have such weather. This past day or so has been great, but the same cannot be said for the whole weekend. For just about everyone in the area, we had some rather difficult weather on Friday. There was a great deal of rain that came to […]

2019-05-22T14:09:59-04:00April 21st, 2019|Sermon January 13 2019 - Drama|0 Comments

April 1, 2019 Fair Weather Faith

Fair weather faith Palm Sunday
4/14/19 1st UCC of Carlisle
Luke 19:28-40

I would like to start off this morning and speak to the concept of popularity. I imagine we have seen situations where a word, person, or story has gained immense approval. There is a contemporary word to this described this sort of path and that is the word trending. This is a term that some people may be familiar with. It usually refers to a situation on the internet, something that everyone is talking about, and everyone is sharing their views on. Trending might usually occur on social media or on the internet, but I imagine we have seen it the world as well. So for example, there may an image or a story or a video which is shown on the internet that starts to gain the attention of lots of people, and more and more people […]

2019-05-22T14:12:42-04:00April 14th, 2019|Sermon January 13 2019 - Drama|0 Comments

March 31 2019 Emotional Exercise

Emotional exercise Luke 15:1-3, 11-31
Season of Lent 3/31/2019

I would like to start us off toward with a word, shockobuku. I heard it once in a movie and the definition given in the movie resonated with me at the time. It was said to have been a swift spiritual kick to the head that alters ones reality. This particular definition is something that might be helpful to us as we continue this journey through Lent:. Violent action aside, this is something that can completely changes a person’s perception of an individual’s choice, of a situation, of someone’s life. Now I am not entirely sure I am clear if this is an actual word, or something that was made up by Hollywood. Sometimes it seems as though Hollywood creates certain words and ideals and places them out there into society and then society accepts and endorses these words […]

2019-05-22T14:13:11-04:00March 31st, 2019|Sermon January 13 2019 - Drama|0 Comments

Mental Exercise – 3rd Sunday in Lent Confirmation – Luke 9:26-39

Imagine for a minute with me that we are walking in a downtown anywhere in the world. It could be Carlisle, perhaps a nearby city. We walk a specific section of that town on a daily basis. We are very familiar with the people we see, who are walking the streets, the people in the shops and stores. And each time we take this walk, we see one particular individual sitting on one of the street corner. Every time we have walked the street we see this individual, he is talking to himself, he wears ragged clothing, we might notice that it seems as though he has not had a bath in a number of weeks. And it is the same situation every time we take this walk, we see that man sitting there, talking to himself, acting and looking strangely.

And then we take this same walk today, we go […]

2019-04-03T15:56:49-04:00March 24th, 2019|Sermon January 13 2019 - Drama|0 Comments

Spiritual Exercise – 1st week of Lent – Luke 4:1-13

Last Wednesday began the season of Lent for the church. On that night at the Ash Wednesday worship I spoke about the exercises we need to engage in this Lenten time. I mentioned the notion of fitness we all need to embark upon at the following levels, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. During this year’s time of Lent, I am going to invite us to consider what exercising these parts of lives means, and what it means to be fit. On this first Sunday of Lent, I would like to spend some time considering spiritual fitness. This gospel passage seems relevant to the conversation of spiritual exercise and application.

When we look in the NRSV version of the Gospel of Luke passage today, the title of the reading is the Temptation of Jesus. This is an appropriate title for this week’s Gospel reading. The devil tempted Jesus to go for “domestic […]

2019-04-03T15:56:37-04:00March 10th, 2019|Sermon January 13 2019 - Drama|0 Comments