Archive for March 21st, 2023

Exodus and Exile

Written by Mark Zimmermann, a contemporary writer.

Mark Labberton, in The Dangerous Act of Worship, outlines two paradigms that the Christian church lives under: The paradigm of exodus and the paradigm of exile. The exodus paradigm has had an enormous impact on the American Christian church in that “the United States was established by those who were leaving various kinds of bondage to pursue religious and spiritual freedom.”  And Scripture does indeed support the exodus paradigm. As Paul states, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14). The concept of the exodus paradigm is that we are passing through this earth on the way to our real home in heaven. The exile paradigm, on the other hand, is about settling as strangers in a strange land and doing all we can to live out our calling in the midst of a culture that is not in line with our belief system. In this paradigm, we realize that we are “to be signposts, to be salt, to be light in the world. Exile allows us to hold on the slow and steady path toward God’s re-creation.”  Scripture aligns with this paradigm as well. St. Peter says, “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:11-12). So, which is it? Exodus or exile? Labberton makes it clear: “Jesus calls us to both domains of life. Both exodus and exile are God’s intention. Both are to be our experience. Both are needed, and both have meaning. Both are to be a part of our daily living and it takes both to make the fullest sense of God’s purposes and plan. Enjoy your time therefore in exodus AND exile.


Written by James Lowry, a contemporary retired pastor and author. This is from his book “Prayers for the Lord’s Day.”

Lord God, forgive us. Unlike the psalmist, when we walk through the shadow of death, we sometimes fear evil. Unlike Paul, we are not always sure that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Unlike John of Patmos, in the midst of injustice we do not always see a new heaven and a new earth. Forgive again, we pray, our feeble use of the faith you give, and restore to us the hope of trust and the trust of hope. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

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