A Word about the Word-
Pursue the well-being [lit. “shalom”] of the city I have deported you to. Pray to the LORD on its behalf, for when it thrives you thrive. [Jeremiah 29:7]
After the horror in D.C. yesterday, the call to pray for “the city” is a very timely one. To pray for peace and healing and unity. It’s almost too hard to get those words out of our mouths. But pray we must, despite the nearly impossible nature of the requests.
And while Christians are called to bless the city, the common old tendencies are there for all to see today:
Be the city: As Christians, we must avoid thinking and acting just like our unchurched counterparts—with anger or cynicism or us vs. them.
Hate the city: “Those dirty, immoral __________ (fill in the blank).” May the love of Christ be our brand.
Hide from the city: This is an easy one to fall into. To shelter away in the safety of our Christian ghetto far away from the madness is a real temptation that must be avoided.
Idolize the city: We must find our identity and security not in being “right” or “left” or even American. This will enable us to rest in our good and sovereign King in these—and in all our—trying days.
Close to Home
“Bless the city!”
I am quite encouraged! Already some of Trinity’s small groups, our Elder team, and our staff have each begun brainstorming how they and we can tangibly bless our city! Stay tuned for more news on this front coming really soon.
The World as It Is
“I believe in political solutions to political problems. But man’s primary problems aren’t political; they’re philosophical. Until humans can solve their philosophical problems, they are condemned to solve their political problems over and over again. It’s a cruel repetitious bore.”
I read these words by American writer Tom Robbins and thought if we replaced the word “philosophical” with “spiritual,” we would be on to something. Go ahead, read that quote again, this time with the word “spiritual” inserted. Our problems are indeed spiritual. And all the darkness and pain that we see (political or otherwise) stems from sin, a spiritual brokenness. And Christian people who embrace the One who solved THE spiritual problem and provided a way of living that reflects that Way need not be stuck in the political paradigms of right or left. Instead, we are to embrace another way that calls us to live more in peace, even among those with whom we disagree—and to model “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” in a dark day that longs to see that ray of light.
“Human history is the long, terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.” [C.S. Lewis]
So, we sat down to watch Soul, Pixar’s latest offering. We ranged in age from 90 to 9, literally. Here are my initial thoughts: It was pretty deep, metaphysically and storyline-wise. Your children may enjoy it on one level. Mila, our nine-year-old, sort of enjoyed it. Not sure she totally followed it. And she certainly wasn’t talking about it the next day, like Frozen or The Lion King.
Soul investigates the life of souls, both when they die and their pre-existence. (Mormons and Hindus will appreciate that. FYI: Christianity does not believe in the pre-existence of the soul. You get yours when you are born.) The story that might encourage family conversation concerns discovering your “spark” and life purpose (Rick Warren would appreciate). But it didn’t really for us.
Soul reminded me a little of Pixar’s “Inside Out.” However, I thought this latest offering was less kid-accessible. Let me know if your family sees it.
A Healing Prayer
Let’s be praying for the healing of our nation. Let’s consider ourselves Christ-followers first, Americans second (if you are), and any party allegiance third (if even that). And let’s pray accordingly—for the peace of Christ and the proliferation of his Kingdom in word and deed throughout our country and in our hearts and lives. Join me Sunday morning as we pray this way.
I’ll catch you on the other side.