Flights of Faith

Thursday, August 07, 2008


Jeremiah 29:4-7

4 Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7 But seek the peace of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its peace you will find your peace.

Where are we? What cities are we in? I listened to this amazing sermon a few Sundays ago on this Jeremiah verse and some others. The pastor's point was that we cannot see our lives as transient points, As, Bs, and Cs. No more exit plans from what should be our cities. No more clamoring to leave New Haven. We have to be planted where we are. Of course, we can move if God's will calls us to pack our bags. But even as we approach our last weeks in our hometowns or summer spots, we need to remember that our commitment to God's people in that city should be strong. After all, it is someone's home even if we don't consider it ours. And then, there's New Haven. The place many of us will return to come late August. Do we call it home? Do we seek the peace of it? Violence has increased by 56% this Summer. Are we ready to accept that pain as our own? Can we invest in the city? Make lives in it? Or do we see it as a place of exile? Let's not let society or Yale or even fellowships to define our role in New Haven or our current city as a temporary resting spot, a place to do guarded service that meets in gated courtyards, or simply soup kitchens where our charity is celebrated as if we were some heroes to the city. There is no truth to their celebration, just a pleasant reaction to a callous world.

This time last week I was watching The Dark Knight, a movie I find infinitely frustrating for many reasons. I'll articulate them at a later time. However, I have to admit that listening to this sermon on Sunday, God humbled me. As messed up as I think Batman is (and he is pretty messed up), Batman seeks the peace of his city. He does it alone. And on human strength. And with no regard for the whole of natural laws (not just avoiding the taking of life). We know better than to make those mistakes. Yet, the Caped Crusader offers himself up for the city. I don't do that. To be truthful though, the awful hopelessness of that movie inspired me to inject the hope of Christ into New Haven. If an 8 year old Christian boy or girl entered the Dark Knight and witnessed to any of the characters (alright, the Joker would be hard), then the entire movie would have changed its course. Christ's Truth is that powerful. So, a 22 year old man letting God act through him should have some impact, right? I hope so. I believe.

Psalm 125: 4

4 Even in darkness light dawns for the upright,
for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man.

Can we change our hearts? Yes. Can we change our cities? Yes. Not through capes or lies or the best out of brokenness. Only through Christ alone. Let's follow Him and seek His peace in all corners of our lives and our cities. All we have to do is let Him in. Accept His love over our brokenness, individual and collective. Let's keep transforming into what God wants us to be and not leave any areas behind.



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