When Jeremiah sent his letter to the Judean captives in Babylon, he offered comfort, hope, and healing. Yes, they were captured by the ruthless Babylonians and living in camps in a foreign land. Yes, they had lost their temple, king, and city. Yes, Yahweh God had claimed responsibility (even though the war was led by a human king). But the prophet reminded the people that God would use this violent event to spread the news of a relationship with the all powerful and faithful God.
Today many authors, Christian leaders, and disciples suggest that Christianity in the US and Canada experience an “exile.” The movement of Jesus’ followers seem to be on the margins of society, an ignored voice of hope, and are losing followers rapidly. In addition to this our countries seem to have viewpoints that are in contrast to the call to “Love God with all our heart, soul, and mind.” To some it is overwhelming to observe the rapid cultural shifts and changes that create a faith in Jesus much different than that of the past. Is this “exile” a punishment from God or a natural expression of change and technological advancements?
Seek the Shalom of the City was a call from Yahweh God not to decide what was good or bad in our communities–but an opportunity to bear fruit in a climate that needed a faithful God, followed by loyal people. Living in Exile provides the church with opportunities ripe with possibilities that can offer hope, foster growth, and promote maturity and shalom (peace/justice) in a climate seeking relationship with God, faith, and those who love Jesus.
To read more about Agape and Mission visit the recent Missio Dei journal article.
January 8 = “I have carried you into exile…”
January 15 = “Build houses and settle down…”
January 22 = “Do not listen to the prophets…”
January 29 = “I will bring you back…”