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Citizens of the Kingdom

Our readings this week (Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost. Jeremiah 15:15-21, Psalm 26:1-8, Romans 12:9-21, and Matthew 16:21-28) do not sit easily side by side. They not so much contradict each other as they describe all too clearly the conundrum in which we live our lives of faith! If we can live in the creative tension then we will be initiated into the citizenship of heaven on earth, of the kingdom of God breaking into our world now.

Let us begin with Jeremiah, the weeping prophet (or in the Australian idiom the “whinging” prophet!) I always feel a bit sorry for Jeremiah because he did have a hard time of it and was given a hard job. I would be complaining also. So following the well established ‘lament psalm’ format, Jeremiah: describes his suffering; asks quite accusing questions of God; condemns his enemies and petitions for them to be punished; confesses his ultimate faith in God; and allows for a divine response. And God’s response is something to the effect that persecution has not derailed God’s promise