Reading: Jeremiah 8: 18-22
Jeremiah cries out to God on behalf of the people. He is acutely aware of their sins, yet he prays for them and their relationship with God. Since being called to be the prophet to Israel, Jeremiah has spoken to the people about their sins and the coming danger that their sins are drawing in. He has made the consequences of living life outside of the covenant relationship with God crystal clear. Yet the people do not repent. They do not turn from false idols and foreign gods. They instead rely on tradition and appearances.
The people think their status as God’s ‘chosen people’ will save them. But even the most special child in all the world can be disobedient and experience the consequences. The people of Israel also think their ritualistic trips to the temple will be enough for God to relent. But the trips are hollow and there is no relationship with God. It is all appearance. It is all on the surface. It is simply going through the motions. If their relationship was real it would lead to a personal relationship with God. The relationship would affect how they were living outside their one hour in the temple.
Does God expect any less of us? Isn’t a personal and intimate relationship with us what God desires most? God wants to be fully known by us and for us to experience being fully known by God. When we are limited in our commitment and when we keep the relationship at a shallow, surface level, we are not being honest with God and we are only fooling ourselves. God knows all and sees all. There is nothing we can hide from God. When we hold back and try to live a second life, we are being disrespectful to the omnipotent and omnipresent God. Instead, may we willingly strip away all the gloss and glitter and come honestly and humbly before our God. God does not expect perfection but takes us as we are. God simply says to us, “Come as you are”.