Pentecost 4, 2023

Trust is our watchword this week. Jesus is calling for us to trust him.

In the Gospel reading, Jesus gets frank with us . His project is not to make us wealthy, happy, or comfortable. There is a good chance that it won’t. We are coming off a time in Christian history when most of us grew up pretty comfortable and reasonably wealthy, at least by world standards. If we were not happy, we tended to seek therapy for that. But for significant bits of Christian history, being a follower of Jesus meant expecting to be persecuted and hated. Jesus is telling us not to be surprised by that. He tells us, however, that every hair of our head is numbered and we are far more precious than the sparrows who fall to the ground. It is not that the hair won’t be yanked out or that the sparrows won’t fall to the ground. They will. But God tells us that he sees all of this and there is a day of reckoning and restitution coming.

It is perhaps Jeremiah whose words are most difficult for us to hear. He has followed God and it has not gone well for him. People hate him and and he very much wants to be liked. He wonders if God is faithful. Jeremiah seems to have heard a promise from God that all would be well if he only followed God and spoke His message as a prophet. But God made no such promise to Jeremiah and he made no such promise to us. He only said He would go with us. We would not be lost to Satan’s iron grip. But he never promised comfort, peace, or any of the things things we often want very much. He has promised us Christ crucified and enjoined us to take up our cross and follow Him. We have to trust Him.

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