The Performance Artist [5]: Shuv Shevot

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The Episode | Shuv Shevot

Now I realize that the real sin is to deny God’s first love for me, to ignore my original goodness. Because without claiming that first love and that original goodness for myself, I lose touch with my true self and embark on the destructive search among the wrong people and in the wrong places for what can only be found in the house of my Father.

Henri J.M. Nouwen - Return of the Prodigal Son

Jeremiah bought a field. That doesn't seem like the strangest of things until you realise when and where he bought it. This strange prophetic act speaks to one of the deep themes of his book, the consistent belief and hope that God will create a way for everyone to return home. This idea is embedded throughout Jeremiah in a simple Hebrew phrase - Shuv Shevut.

The Series | The Performance Artist

Before Jeremiah knew God, God knew Jeremiah: “Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you.” This turns everything we ever thought about God around. We think that God is an object about which we have questions. We are curious about God. We make inquiries about God. We read books about God. We get into late-night bull sessions about God. We drop into church from time to time to see what is going on with God. We indulge in an occasional sunset or symphony to cultivate a feeling of reverence for God. But that is not the reality of our lives with God. Long before we ever got around to asking questions about God, God had been questioning us. Long before we got interested in the subject of God, God subjected us to the most intensive and searching knowledge. Before it ever crossed our minds that God might be important, God singled us out as important. Before we were formed in the womb, God knew us. We are known before we know. This realization has a practical result: no longer do we run here and there, panicked and anxious, searching for the answers to life. Our lives are not puzzles to be figured out. Rather, we come to God, who knows us and reveals to us the truth of our lives. The fundamental mistake is to begin with ourselves and not God. God is the center from which all life develops.

- Eugene Peterson

One of the Hebrew prophets we discover in the pages of the Bible is a man called Jeremiah. Jeremiah is a prophet, but he’s also an artist, a performance artist. The pages of his book are filled with symbol, metaphor, and signs. Artistic ideas and powerful images that interrupt us and draw us towards the God who has always been with us.

Throughout this series we want to reflect on how the ancient message of Jeremiah talks to us today as individuals, a church, and a city.

The Performance Artist | October 6 - November 10, 2019

For each series we want to offer a few optional resources that you might want to read and explore to deepen your understanding of the subjects covered in this series. Some of the reading will overlap with other series throughout the year and our house church program.

Run with the Horses - Eugene Peterson

Jeremiah for Everyone - John Goldingay

The Prophetic Imagination - Walter Brueggemann

Walking the Ancient Paths - Walter C. Kaiser