Often, when I am reading sacred text, I find myself wondering: what does God *actually* sound like? As in, if I had been *there* at *that moment* what would I have heard? This is especially true for me when it comes to the prophets, because they are so often tasked with unenviable task of mediating God’s words to God’s people. So they receive something, and then they share it.
I can relate to that. As a pastor, one of my most visible tasks is to pay attention to scripture, to receive it, and then to help my people see it as something worth paying attention to. Ancient texts are deceptive–there is a lot of context and back story that is often invisible to us on the page which makes the task of understanding just a little bit harder. We miss the ancient jokes, the word play, the allusions that make our modern conversations come alive.
Over the past few years, I have found that biblical storytelling has been a way for me to help make scripture come alive for my community. Biblical storytelling pays attention to the words, and the context, and what we know about the ancient world, and then it helps the community to hear it fresh. The magic that happens when academic study and creative proclamation are brought together is incredibly refreshing.
But there are choices that have to be made, such as, What does God sound like? This week, I found myself asking that question with respect to Jeremiah 23. I could say a lot about it at this point, but the general gist is that the book of Jeremiah is bitter medicine. Bad news all around for the people of God. The young Jeremiah knows it, God knows it, and nobody is particularly happy about it. And there are other prophets out there, whose message is more popular, *maybe just maybe* because it is a lot more hopeful and positive.
By the time we get to Jeremiah 23, God is fed up with these false prophets and is laying into them. To me, God seems beyond angry. God is at that point where God is almost amused by the ridiculousness of it all. I imagined God breaking into our worship on Sunday, lounging in the front pew eating popcorn and saying what God really thinks of (waves hands) all this.