September 16, 2019
Shipwrecked with Regard to Faith
September 16, 2019
Many of us are coming down from a summer “mountaintop experience.” Good vacations give us a chance to read and think, have deep conversations with people we love, and enjoy some of God’s beautiful creation. Out in the countryside, we find such joy in being able to see unobstructed sunsets and stars at night so bright we can find familiar constellations, even the Milky Way, and the occasional shooting star. But now it’s a return to some unpleasant realities, and today’s readings bring us back with a jolt.
Jeremiah laments the state of affairs in Jerusalem: “Go up and down the streets of Jerusalem, . . . If you can find but one person who deals honestly and seeks the truth, I will forgive this city” (v. 1). And these words of warning for Timothy: “ Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well, holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith” (vv. 18-19).
The question is, do we know God’s truth when we see it? Do our consciences serve God’s righteousness? Do we recognize the lies of the false prophets (Jer 5:20)? In Jeremiah’s Jerusalem, there was a scarcity of truth. Even in Timothy’s young Christian community, faith and good conscience were endangered. Can we see what God is doing as clearly as we saw those ocean sunsets and the starry, starry mountain skies? A lack of truth about who God is and what God expects of us leads to a “shipwreck of faith.”
QUESTIONS FOR THE FIELD
- What is the hardest part of returning from a vacation? What mental and emotional “unpacking” is required?
- How can time away help you to come back with a clearer vision for the days ahead? What helps you distinguish between fabrication and truth?
FAMILY FIELD TALK
- Ask everyone to tell “What I Did Last Summer” stories.
- Think together about “What I Learned Last Summer.”
“Beautiful Savior! Lord of all the nations. Son of God and Son of Man. Glory and honor, praise adoration, now and forevermore be thine.” Amen. (UMH # 189)