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MARCH 1, 2021

Updated: Mar 2, 2021

 


BIBLE READING


Jeremiah 29:4-9


4 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” 8 Yes, this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. 9 They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the Lord.


 

BLOOM

WHERE YOU ARE

PLANTED


We so often live in situations which are far from perfect. At times, lets be honest, we would rather be in other places with other people. The people of Israel had been taken into captivity by the Babylonian empire. They were far from their familiar home and culture and traditions.


During this time there were some prophets and leaders that suggested that it would all end soon. They could go home, and it would be business as usual. However, God, through Jeremiah, communicates that he has other plans. As our bible reading today suggests they are to settle into their situation as exiles. It might not be what they preferred, but they are to “bloom where they are planted,” rather than itching to get back to how things were.

In tough times, in times where our life situation makes us feel like exiles, (this last year or more has brought this feeling hasn’t it?) each of us has a decision to make. We can focus on what we do not have, the countless frustrations and limitations. Or we focus on what we do have, disappointing as it might be. We can look at life and complain about what is not there, (I do this do you?) or look at life and rejoice at what is there.


We feel like strangers and exiles in our imperfect world. But we are to live boldly and creatively by faith where we are. Perhaps things will change for us: after all, the Jews finally did return from exile. In the meantime, we live fully in the present moment. In fact, once the exiled People of God did this, they entered a creative and fruitful period of their history.

Exile is not pleasant: it is not an encouraging word or joyful reality. But if it is where we find ourselves right now, our task is to be those who through God’s grace make it a time of blessing, not only for ourselves but for others.


That is what King David words in Psalm 34 reminded us of yesterday in our Worship. Writing from exile, David says “do good; seek peace and pursue it.” Our reading today says that the People of God should “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

We steadfastly live for God during our seasons of countless limitations and imperfect circumstances. Exile is not where we might want to be, but it is still the place of God’s presence and the reach of his blessing.




 

PRAYER


Heavenly Father, I humble myself before you asking for your hand of support during these difficult times. You are my refuge and my strength; my present help in trouble. Let your grace be upon me during these times of anguish. My trust is in your love which never fails, and your power that knows no boundaries. Be my guide. Amen.

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