Sunday, December 18, 2005

Post Resurrection exilic disciples

Taken from Saundra's blog...Psalm 137 comes from another time of exile, from another people held prisoner far from home. Overcome by their losses, they asked, “How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?”

The same is now happening here in America. Our own land has, in some ways, become alien to us, has it not? Cultural and technological change makes us outdated and foreign as the decades speed by. Familiar landmarks, familiar customs, familiar traditions are things to be found only in the recesses of our memories. With so much of what was once familiar being replaced by the unfamiliar, we find ourselves living in a strange and alien land.

The Christian community is always, in some sense, away from home—a band of exiles whose hopes are fixed on another home, the New Jerusalem. How can we, in the meantime, sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?

We sing it as those prisoners sang it in the Japanese camps in the Pacific. We sing it as Blacks did in the cotton fields of the south. We sing it as the Jews did in the concentration camps of Auschwitz. We sing the Lord’s song even though the world is not as it should be. We sing it to sustain us; we sing in defiance; and we sing it as a bold sign to the world of our hope in Jesus Christ.

As “resident aliens,” how can we eat, laugh and raise our voices in song when the planet is stressed out and its people spiritually dislocated? We sing the Lord’s song as a gesture of hope, as an act of trust and confidence that God is not finished with the human race yet. We sing the Lord’s song not only to keep our spirits up, not only in defiance to show our dissatisfaction with the way things are, but we sing it in faith. We sing the Lord’s song in the sure and certain hope that the God who has been at work all through human history is still at work and in full control.

We will keep on singing, even with tears in our eyes, even with sorrow in our hearts, and even with heavy burdens on our backs.

Sovereign God, Lover of mankind, Give me the grace of perseverance to the very end. Give me the strength to sing your praises while I remain here in this foreign land. Let me not falter along the way but remain faithful to my Lord until I am summoned home; for the honor of our Advocate and Mediator, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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