Friday, November 4, 2016
Exile, Shalom, and Silence
"But 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." Jeremiah 29:7
These words from the prophet Jeremiah still ring in my ears since preaching on them last Sunday. They ring in my ears as I listen to more media covering the political friction that surrounds us, as I watch out the train window on my way to Niagara Falls to visit my daughter, and as I engage God in a time of prayer each morning.
These prophetic words come to the people as they find themselves in exile in Babylon - a foreign land where things are just not the same. One would imagine that they were experiencing a loss of control and a sense of uncomfortable uncertainty in this new land. In the midst of it all the letter comes calling for the people to be a source of living hope in the place they find themselves in now. As I listen to the friction in our land and see the poverty as the train moves through the landscape I find it difficult to know how to pray. How do I pray for and work towards the welfare, the shalom of the city? How do I pray for shalom when my heart is tangled up in the political friction and torn by the poverty I encounter?
And then I realize that instead of having all the answers and being certain of what will happen next I am called like the people in Babylon to live with the uncertainty and try to listen a little more to the Spirit of God that has the power to bring about living hope even in the midst of uncertainty.
God, may I listen more and speak less, may I seek to be a sign of your living hope in this unfamiliar land of uncertainty.