To Pluck and to Plant

Marc Chagall - 1965While Jeremiah is one of the Bible's better known prophets, his full message is perhaps one of the most neglected parts of scripture.  Jeremiah speaks an uncomfortable message of God's anger and God's grief poured out on unfaithful Israel in the period leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem, the Temple, and the deportation into Babylon.  In spite of its ancient background and disturbing content, the prophet Jeremiah and the book that bears his name speaks to God's people today.  It offers an invitation to listen to God’s voice and trust God’s purposes in the midst of calamity and social upheaval.  For those with ears to hear, Jeremiah calls us to respond boldly and faithfully to the ultimate reality of God. 


Week 1:  Jeremiah 2:1-13

“Breaking Ground for a Renewed World” 

Click here for Sermon Audio

On Sunday September 25th we began a 6-week series through the book of Jeremiah called “to pluck and to plant” (Jeremiah 1:10). Jeremiah was sent to give a warning to Judah and Jerusalem to turn from evil and do good, to forsake idolatry and pursue righteousness.  Much of the book of Jeremiah depicts the stubbornness of God’s people, yet underneath it all is God’s work to bring about a New Covenant. 

In many ways, Jeremiah is like a gardener, tiling the hard, rocky soil of Jerusalem’s heart.  Jeremiah is doing the grunt work of clearing the heart’s rocky soil to make it into fertile soil for the word of God to take root.  Jeremiah’s message often cuts the heart and soul.  But if we open ourselves to it, God will work to make all things new. 


Reading Plan for Week 1

Getting to Know the Weeping Prophet

            Jer 23:23-29                The LORD is against the prophets

            Jer 1:4-10                    Jeremiah’s call to be God’s prophet

            Jer 7:1-8:3                   Jeremiah’s first sermon

          Jer 24:1-14 Jeremiah's Exile sermon

            Jer 11:18-23                Jeremiah’s life threatened       




A Call From...

Pastor Joel Shenk was recently interviewed by Sam Meldon for the Toledo podcast "A Call From..."  Check out the interview here, and make sure to listen to Sam's other interviews of people doing good work around our city to seek the common good.  

Jeremiah 29:7 "Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare."  




Pray for Peace, Act for Peace

The last update to the TMC webpage a few weeks ago was a call to prayer for the city of Orlando and the victims of the mass shooting at the Pulse night club.

This week again our hearts are heave as we greive another round of the ongoing violence in our nation.  In this instance, we remember the city of Dallas and the four police officers killed by the gunman:  Michael J. Smith, Lorne Ahrens, Brent Thompson, Michael Krol, Patrick Zamarripa.  We pray for their families, friends, and community, as well as the other officers who were injured in the sniper attack.  

We also remember the context in which this shooting occured and the ongoing strife among the black community, law enforcement, and other groups as well.  We remember Alto Sterling and Philando Castille, as well as their family and friends who are mourning.  

We pray for God's healing and grace in the lives of those directly impacted in these situations, and also for our society as a whole.  We pray for people in positions of influence and leadership that they might lead with courage, truth, and justice.  As the church, we pray for God to strengthen us to be ambassadors of Good News and agents of Transformation.  At times the evil and the pain of the world can seem so overwhelming.   But at times like this we lift our eyes to God and to Christ our Lord.  Christ is the light that leads the church through times of darkness.  And so here are some of Jesus' words from the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter 5 to help light the way forward:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.
You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid.
No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. (NRSV)
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
May it be so.

Pray for Orlando

Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims and the families of the shooting in Orlando.  We pray for God's healing and hope to come into our world that suffers so much from violence and hate.  May Christ be our light in this darkness.  

Below is a statement from our denomination:  


As Mennonite Church USA, we grieve the horrific act of violence toward LGBTQ persons perpetrated in Orlando early last Sunday morning, cutting short the lives of 49 people and wounding 53 more. We are appalled that the shooter specifically targeted LGBTQ Latinos, acting out of hatred for people created in the image of God. We lament the culture of violence in our society and our participation in it.

We stand with our Muslim neighbors who have condemned this heinous act and have stepped forward to assist the victims. We pledge to work shoulder-to-shoulder with all people of faith — to overcome evil with good, hatred with love, violence with peacemaking and inequity with justice.

We pray for the people of Orlando; for the victims and their families, friends and loved ones; for LGBTQ communities who are traumatized by hatred and violence directed toward them or taking place around them; for Muslim communities; and for the many people providing support in the aftermath of this tragedy. We pray for the family and friends of the shooter. And we pray for ourselves, that we may have the courage to do what is right in the face of terror or fearmongering, putting our hope in Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. May God have mercy on us all.


Happy Pentecost

"The crowning evidence that Jesus lives is not a vacant grave but a spirit-filled fellowship.  Not a rolled away stone but a carried-away church."  Clarence Jordan - theologian, missionary, advocate for racial equality, and founder of Koinonia Farms.  

Great food for thought and inspiration as we celebrated Pentecost this past Sunday with some wonderful visuals: