In other words, their understanding of their foundational and ultimate purpose would not allow them to remain trapped inside a box—they had to break free, live out their purpose, and follow the example and teachings of Christ regardless of the consequences. This was the way they must go.
Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone…Fear God. Honor the emperor.
In the same way, when our hearts and lives are being transformed by the work of the Holy Spirit, we are Christians…but so much more!
Even during these heated, divisive, challenging times may we continue to sow good seeds of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control…..so that, in time, there might be songs of joy for a fruitful, abundant harvest of the same.
Embracing exile is not a pause in the missional purpose of God’s people. Embracing exile may, in fact, be setting God’s people free to rediscover their true mission and the powerful reasons for their divine creation in the first place.
I love it when Scripture comes alive and the truth behind the words is seen in a new and deeply meaningful way, far more meaningful than simply the face-value of words on paper. My faith has been strengthened and deepened in recent years through a desire to find the truth of Scripture through the story being told.
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone—–Romans 12:18 NIV
The lives of those who are called the church–the Church in Exile–bring glory to God while being appropriately different than the surrounding culture but yet actively and meaningfully engaged at the same time.
And then…..we find ourselves running full speed to the people we love…amazed at the beauty we didn’t realize was there all along.
In the U.S., I see a very different form of exile, if it is appropriate to refer to is truly as exile. Daniels writes that “many Christians are waking up to the reality that they are suddenly strangers in a strange time” (Exile, Kindle location 141). The sense of exile I increasingly see and hear from my American friends has a very different feel than that of their Asian counterparts. Here in U.S., the Christian community seems to be feeling the loss of something and so the reaction often takes the form of an aggressive “let’s get back what we had” mentality, especially as it relates to politics and changes in the American cultural landscape; perhaps even a “defeat the enemy invading our territory” kind of impulse. This has been demonstrated with great clarity over recent weeks of political debate and discourse leading up to a highly divisive presidential election.