The Corridor: October 2007

The Corridor

We are a church community committed to having an incarnational presence in the Washington/Baltimore Corridor.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7

The passage we focused on from the Lectionary this past Sunday was Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7. As our small community is beginning to take shape this passage has really grabbed me as something I think we can identify with. The context of the passage is a message to those who are not living in the ideal world that they thought God had promised them; they are instead exiles in Babylon, not living in their own nation among their own people but rather they are instead living among Babylonians. The message they are given through the Prophet Jeremiah about their situation is astounding.

There are plenty of Christians in our culture that withdraw from the world they live in; they consider themselves citizens of another world and so they pay this world no mind (except for maybe trying to recruit others to be citizens of the next). There is truth in the imagery that as followers of Jesus we are in many ways strangers and aliens in the world and that our citizenship is of a Kingdom that is out of this world; so perhaps we might identify with the imagery of living in exile too while we spend our lives on this earth. This being the case the message in Jeremiah may also astound us.

When I read Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7, this is what I hear God instructing those living in exile:

Settle down and make yourself at home. Build houses and plant gardens just like everyone else that lives there. Be a part of the community that you are in, not just with your fellow Israelites but with the Babylonians also. Marry and have children and grandchildren and live together with the Babylonians in the land. Seek the welfare of the city because you and the Babylonians are all in this together.

I find this call to settle down and identify with others we live with in our community amazingly relevant to us today. Too often Christians have misunderstood the call to “come out and be separate” found in other places in scripture as meaning we should disassociate ourselves with our neighbors. In actuality we should only separate ourselves by being salt and light that is easily identifiable by the way we love others. Here Jeremiah calls them to actually immerse themselves in their community, not just investing in their own Jewish sub culture but by investing in the whole community including the Babylonians.

This is what I want us to be about, I want us to seek the welfare of our city, make ourselves a home here in the Washington/Baltimore area and be part of the lives of everyone we share our community with. So, like I said on Sunday, I think we need to keep our eyes open for ways we might, as individuals and as a group, invest in our community. I think there are endless possibilities of ways we might invest in helping with our community perhaps through helping with social needs, education, healthcare and environment.

This isn’t meant to come across as some kind of political platform because there are different political philosophies about what might work best, and I think there are many ways we can impact these things besides just our vote. We can help with social needs by doing things like the homeless walkathon in November, perhaps getting involved in Habitat for Humanity, and the Wolf’s are looking into how we might help the Ann Arundel County Food Pantry. We might help with education by taking part as parents in school functions and activities or we can give our time to other youth programs in our community. I love it that both Mark and Gordon have given their time to the Boy Scouts in the area. We might help in healthcare by visiting nursing homes, or taking part in a walk to fight cancer, or find a ways to support things that help those without health insurance get the help they need. On a personal level I would love to learn how to be more environmentally responsible and I am looking for ways I can get involved in community that also cares about that issue.

Anyway, these are just some ideas, but if you have any more thoughts about how we might seek the welfare of our cities and community and get involved, this might be a good place to brainstorm more about it. You can post a comment under this post, or you are welcome to create your own post if there is something you really would like to focus on.

I am excited to be in community with all of you and I am looking to forward to seeing what we become as we seek together to live out our faith in this world we live in.