Read Jeremiah 1:1-10


The words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, of the priests who were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, to whom the word of the LORD came in the days of King Josiah son of Amon of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign.  It came also in the days of King Jehoiakim son of Josiah of Judah, and until the end of the eleventh year of King Zedekiah son of Josiah of Judah, until the captivity of Jerusalem in the fifth month.


Now the word of the LORD came to me saying,

             “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,

            and before you were born I consecrated you;

            I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”


Then I said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.”


But the LORD said to me,

            “Do not say, ‘I am only a boy’;

                         for you shall go to all to whom I send you,

                        and you shall speak whatever I command you,

             Do not be afraid of them,

            for I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD.”


Then the LORD put out his hand and touched my mouth; and the LORD said to me,

            “Now I have put my words in your mouth.

             See, today I appoint you over nations and over kingdoms,

                        to pluck up and to pull down, to destroy

                        and to overthrow, to build and to plant.”



—from Rev. Del Parris, Lost Creek, WV


            In this delightful passage relating the call of Jeremiah, we see what can be regarded as the misuse of “confessions.”  Jeremiah certainly admitted that he was an inadequate and a sinful creature as he came into the presence of God.  However, he attempts to use his failures to excuse himself from the life to which God is calling him. 


            Ah! But there is a catch.  God reminds Jeremiah, and you and I, that our shortcomings do not excuse us from being all that God intends.  God says, “I will use you anyway.” 


            Confession and forgiveness are steps to our moving forward, to our being a reflection of God in our troubled world. And we don’t have to be perfect to do this.  When have you hidden behind your sinfulness, your inadequacy, your failures, in order to keep from being all that God intends you to be?


Where are you calling me to follow you, O God?

Forgive me when my feeble excuses take the place

of meaningful repentance and faithful action.