When Jeremiah had finished speaking all that the Lord had commanded him to speak to all the people, then the priests and the prophets and all the people laid hold of him, saying, ‘You shall die! Why have you prophesied in the name of the Lord, saying, “This house shall be like Shiloh, and this city shall be desolate, without inhabitant”?’ And all the people gathered around Jeremiah in the house of the Lord.
When the officials of Judah heard these things, they came up from the king’s house to the house of the Lord and took their seat in the entry of the New Gate of the house of the Lord. Then the priests and the prophets said to the officials and to all the people, ‘This man deserves the sentence of death because he has prophesied against this city, as you have heard with your own ears.’
Jeremiah lived in uncertain times: exile, war, famine, violence and insecurity characterised the Jerusalem of his day and the glistening glory of the Lord’s Sion is left desolate and wasted. As we contemplate our world today, its violence, its war, its pain and its injustice, I cannot help but sense an echo of Jeremiah’s context. This Lent we, as the anointed prophets of God, must recapture the Spirit of our calling – the dangerous and subversive Spirit which leads us from the safety of our quiet lives to prophesy against authority and risk ‘the sentence of death’. We as God’s faithful must speak powerfully to the world, always crying out for justice, equality and the preservation of our planet. We cry out both with our words, but most powerfully with out witness; a witness that says that there is more to life than this, which makes people sit up and take notice of the message of the Nazarenes. In this Holy Season, let us all repent and acknowledge both our own sins and weaknesses and also the deformities of the society we live in and support: let us confess our love of money, our exploitation of the world and of other people; our selfishness and self-interest; and our failure to speak out against those things which bring the Lord to tears as he looks at his world. Then, let us get up from our prayer and be ministers of God’s mercy and proclaimers of God’s truth to the world, so that we may truly speak ‘all that the Lord has commanded us to speak.’