Archive for March 8th, 2023

Learning From Exile


Written by Leo Beach, a contemporary author. This is an excerpt from his book “The Church in Exile: Living in Hope After Christendom.”

Exile tends to infuse communities with new creative energy that rises to meet the challenges of new circumstances. Accordingly, the responses to exile that are offered by communities depicted in Scripture provide resources to the contemporary church and its own formation as an exilic people.  That is, exile is an appropriate motif for the Western church’s understanding of itself and its mission in its current setting; a robust biblical and practical theology rooted in both the Old Testament and New Testament visions of exile can inform the contemporary church’s self-understanding and mission…As exile was for Israel a time for self-evaluation and reorientation, so it can be for the church. The way forward is to look around and understand our context, to look back and gather the resources that our Christian faith offers us, and then to look forward with a clear vision of how the church ought to and can function as God’s people in contemporary exile…While exile was devastating for Israelite life and faith, and life for the early church was a continual challenge, their circumstances proved to be a time of development that generated a better future for both. As Ephraim Radner eloquently states regarding Israel’s exile, “Exile is also a movement by which our Lord delineated deliverance. As such, it can hardly be a cause for fear.” This can also be the case for the Western church in the twenty-first century if we are willing to learn from the wisdom of our ancestors in the faith.


Today’s prayer is from Psalm 3, David’s prayer for deliverance.

Lord, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me! Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver him.” But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. I call out to the Lord, and he answers me from his holy mountain. I lie down and sleep; I wake again because the Lord sustains me. I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side. Arise, Lord! Deliver me, my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked. From the Lord comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people.

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