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The Peace of the City

…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. – Jeremiah 29:7

As far back as I can remember, even in earliest childhood, I have always had a nagging sense of separation from the world around me. I felt it in my bones: Something is not right here. This world is not as it was meant to be.

For a long time, I drank deeply from the bitterness of alienation. I believed that goodness consisted in separating myself from the world altogether. I looked for ways to construct an entirely different kind of society. I dreamed of a community that would be entirely off the grid of ordinary life, untarnished by this pervasive sense of deadness, ugliness and compromise.

But I couldn’t grit my teeth and stiff-arm the world forever. Absolute resistance is absolutely exhausting. Eventually, I had to start lowering my standards; letting others in; opening myself to a world that is incomplete, struggling and in pain. I opened the gate – just a crack – to the world.

To my astonishment, I feel increasingly connected to this broken society I was born into. In spite of all my apprehensions and resistance, I am settling down into this land of where God has sent me. I still struggle with this stubborn sense of alienation. The world is still not as it should be. But there is also amazing beauty here – light radiating from the smudged face of Creation.

Despite all the world’s pain and brokenness, how can I open my eyes to beauty and wholeness? What are ways that I can be a blessing to this city where God has placed me, even when I feel like an exile? What does love look like here?

  • Mary Linda

    Express gratitude for even the teeny-tiniest blessings and generosity with your heart. Let God’s love shine through you. Jesus is our model. He lived in this world, spoke truth and exposed ugliness while also showing love to everyone he touched. You think of it as “lowering my standards” but maybe you just began to understand that you need people and the world needs you to be open? Because, for real, it is hard to change the world if nobody likes to be around you ’cause you’re so judgmental and self-righteous. (I’m saying this to cynical me more than to you, Micah, or anyone else).
    with love,
    Mary Linda