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The Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost A, September 3, 2023

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The Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost A, September 3, 2023

Imagined or real, the fear of being caught in the grip—the clutches—of something or someone unpleasant and dangerous has come to us all.  Whether it’s the childhood anxiety of fleeing the grasp of monsters unseen by any grown-up or the adult reality of being “gripped” by circumstances—a relationship, a job, an addiction—holding us powerless, to be “grasped” is to be under the control of another.

The prophet Jeremiah has been under the control of those to whom he’s been prophesying.   The Word of the Lord which he delivers is unwelcome and unwanted.  Those hearers of the Word of God have insulted, persecuted, and imprisoned the Lord’s messenger.  Jeremiah’s only contentment has come from the promise and assurance coming through the Word of the Lord.  So, the prophet calls out to the Lord for help; he cries for deliverance.  In answer, the Lord gives Jeremiah, and all who hear this word, a promise: “I will deliver you from the hand of the wicked… from the grasp of the ruthless!”  God will not leave this prophet… his very messenger… to remain under the control of another.  By the Father’s hand… by the Lord’s hand… Jeremiah is delivered and redeemed.

The promise received by Jeremiah all those many centuries ago… that promise has come to you today.  It has come in the person of Jesus Christ, your deliverer and redeemer.  These “wicked” and “ruthless” ones are the “NO ONES” to whom Jesus refers when he says:   “My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and NO ONE is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand”  (John 10:29). God, our Father, is greater than even the wicked and ruthless; held in the Father’s hand, you are secure… secure in the grasp of the one Lord and not any other.

Table Talk:  Discuss the fear of being caught and how it’s overcome by confidence and faith in someone stronger.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, hold us securely in the faith of Jesus your son so that we may not be afraid.  Amen

Jeremiah 15:15-21

15 O Lord, you know;

remember me and visit me,

and take vengeance for me on my persecutors.

In your forbearance take me not away;

know that for your sake I bear reproach.

16 Your words were found, and I ate them,

and your words became to me a joy

and the delight of my heart,

for I am called by your name,

O Lord, God of hosts.

17 I did not sit in the company of revelers,

nor did I rejoice;

I sat alone, because your hand was upon me,

for you had filled me with indignation.

18 Why is my pain unceasing,

my wound incurable,

refusing to be healed?

Will you be to me like a deceitful brook,

like waters that fail?

19 Therefore thus says the Lord:

If you return, I will restore you,

and you shall stand before me.

If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless,

you shall be as my mouth.

They shall turn to you,

but you shall not turn to them.

20 And I will make you to this people

a fortified wall of bronze;

they will fight against you,

but they shall not prevail over you,

for I am with you

to save you and deliver you,

declares the Lord.

21 I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked,

and redeem you from the grasp of the ruthless.