From: James Flaherty
“Where are the gods you made for yourselves? Let them rise up.” Jeremiah 2:28
When you hear the Christian story often, it can be difficult to sit in a posture of correction. If you’re shrewd enough, you can avoid it entirely. But Jeremiah’s purpose, it seems to me, is to place us there. He wants to impress upon us where we stand—where we stand when we follow Baal.
Contemporary America, in my opinion, is all about Baal. We’re just not honest about it. For most of us, the Baal of today is unavoidable and convincing. He’s unfortunate but basically harmless. In our more realistic moments, Christians might admit to enjoying his sense of humor, the benefits of his friendship, the conveniences of knowing how and when he operates.
We assume it doesn’t bother God when we give Baal what God rightly wants for Himself. Which is everything.
Think about everything. There’s no compromise in everything. No convenience either. Either you give it or you don’t. Can we give the God of the Bible everything? I think it depends on the God our faith allows. And I think it depends on the God who reveals Himself. A God who doesn’t speak is a very difficult God to know. And a willful person who doesn’t listen—someone like me, for example—that person both doesn’t listen for God and wouldn’t recognize God if He spoke. Such, it seems, was Jeremiah’s audience.
This morning, I read a passage from the Autobiography of Malcolm X that relates: “Truth can be quickly received, or received at all, only by the sinner who knows and admits that he is guilty of having sinned much. Stated another way: only guilt admitted accepts truth.”
I live in Jamaica Plain with my family. This Christmas season, I highly recommend you give a listen to this nativity oratorio by American composer John Adams.