Jeremiah 1:4-10; Matthew 28
Courageous, gutsy, honest... these are words we often associate with prophets, and Jeremiah is no different. Called from a young age by God, Jeremiah spends forty years sharing with his people what God is calling them to— telling them things they really don’t want to hear. Jeremiah’s nation is at war, and within his lifetime they will lose everything. So God sends Jeremiah to teach the people how to worship again; how to be faithful; how to live as a people in exile away from their home. He was definitely brave, a patient listener, a man who did not escape suffering, a servant who chose to follow God.
But that’s only part of the story. Jeremiah is also known as the weeping prophet. He gets whiny. He complains a lot. He doesn’t always see God in his life and he gets angry with God that God has left him alone, especially since God specifically told him he wouldn’t have to be alone. Jeremiah questions if what he is doing is really what God wants him to do— not just once, but time and time again.
I really appreciate Jeremiah’s call story because it reflects his whole relationship with God. God calls Jeremiah, tells him that God knew him even before he was conceived. God tells him that God has been preparing him for this call. And what does Jeremiah say? Not me, God. You’ve got the wrong guy— I’m just a boy, way too young for this.
And what is God’s response? Don’t be afraid Jeremiah. Don’t be afraid. God doesn’t tell Jeremiah there’s nothing to be afraid of— God just promises to be with him in it.
Confirmands, you are here this morning to confirm the promises made in your baptism. And in those promises are similar things to what God called Jeremiah to— to tear down oppression; to resist evil; to stay close to God; to plant love wherever you go. And some of you feel brave and confident and sure of your faith. You know what you’re standing on and you feel good about it. And others of you may be unsure and wondering; you may question why God is silent with you when God seems to speak to other people just fine or have doubts about certain things. If this is you, then know that today you are still in the right place. This is how we respond to God’s call— sometimes with confidence, and a lot of times telling God we’re too young or too old or too dumb or too smart or too mean or too shy— and yet God still calls us. And what I’ve found in my life, is that even when I don’t think I’m ready, when I’m willing to take that next step of faith and trust in God, than I find that God has been preparing me for that step and I didn’t even know it.
God has been preparing you. I’m grateful that you have enough faith today to take this next step and to trust that we take this step with you. You see God does not give sufficient faith to individuals, only to communities. So today you don’t need to have sufficient faith on your own. I don’t have sufficient faith on my own. None of these people around you have sufficient faith on their own— but together, we have enough faith to trust in God and take the next step.