September 20, 2019

September 20, 2019

September 20, 2019
Jeremiah 8:1-13
Psalms 79:1-9
Romans 8:31-39
by Mary Charles Blair
Chair, Church Council of Ooltewah UMC (Ooltewah, TN)
Hiwassee District

Growing up at First Methodist Church, Fort Payne, AL was very traditional. Sunday morning service, 11:00 am all the ladies wore hats, purses and shoes that matched and white gloves. The men wore suits, ties and hats. Families sat together in their usual pews. The order of worship was structured. There was a reading from the Old Testament, Psalms and the New Testament. I learned in Confirmation Class that these reading came from the Lectionary. I assumed that the Lectionary consisted of assigned passages for ministers to follow in order for all Methodist Churches to be “on the same page”.

 Some of you are laughing or at least smiling. Probably because you thought the very same thing. As we have progressed and slowly moved into the less traditional style of worship, the Lectionary readings have been laid aside and, frankly, I had forgotten about them. Until now. Now I see the connection.

Jeremiah 8:1-13 speaks of sin and punishment. In the 40 years that Jeremiah prophesied, no one heeded his warnings. Each time Jeremiah uttered a warning of judgement the people would reply, “What have I done?” The people did not recognize their loathsome conduct as sin. They had no shame at all.

As a result, their bones would be removed from their graves and burned like refuse. No wonder Jeremiah is known as the weeping prophet.

Psalms 79:1-9 starts with the same theme. Jerusalem has been reduced to rubble and the dead bodies of the servants given as food for the birds of the air. But there is a desperate cry in vs 8 “Do not hold against us the sins of the fathers, may your mercy come quickly to meet us, for we are in desperate need.”

The cry for deliverance is answered in Romans 8. God did not spare His own Son but gave him up for us all. And He is sitting at the right hand of the Father interceding for us. We are, now, more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

There is a progression from desperation, to cries for mercy, to victorious revival. The Lectionary shows this. If we would only read and heed the Word that is set before us.

On Sunday nights, after MYF, we would go as a group into the Sanctuary, with the adults, for “Hymn Sing” from the Cokesbury Worship Hymnal. Number 123 was one of my favorites. “We praise Thee, O God! for the Son of Thy love, for Jesus who died and is now gone above. We praise Thee, O God! For Thy Spirit of light, Who has shown us our Savior, and scattered our night.

All glory and praise to the Lamb that was slain, Who has borne all our sins and has cleansed every stain.

Revive us again; fill each heart with Thy love; may each soul be rekindled with fire from above. Hallelujah! Thine the glory, Hallelujah! Amen; Hallelujah! Thine the glory, revive us again!”

Father, we pray for the winds of revival to blow, cleans us from all our sin, and heal our land, Amen.