Here's the Call to Worship I shared this last week to open our service themed around "Living Faithfully in the Land of Exile" on the life of Daniel.
Exile is distance from God.
When we want to live life on our own terms, God often generously grants us our wish. We see this theme threaded throughout the biblical story:
- Adam and Eve want to be like God rather than be with God, so they find themselves distant, in exile, east of Eden.
- When Israel chooses idolatry, injustice and the destruction that comes downstream, she finds herself laid waste by Babylon, and taken far off to a distant land.
- When we give ourselves over to sin, our distance tears heaven and earth apart, rips the fabric of the world, attempts to sever creation from Creator.
But in the midst of the exile, there is hope.
God is faithful in the exile.
In the midst of our world’s distance, God faithfully gives us his very presence, his Spirit. God’s Spirit indwells us: redemptively forming and shaping us for Christ’s kingdom. God’s Spirit gathers us as a community: united to God in Christ as his body, bride and signpost of his kingdom for the world.
So there’s this intimacy, because God is with us by his Spirit. But this distance, because we do not yet see him face-to-face.
And in that tension arises this longing: we’ve tasted his goodness yet long for more. We want intimacy, not distance. Worship, not independence. We cry out, joining a cry arising from God’s people all around the world, for God to come and end the exile.
We want God to come and establish his kingdom upon the earth and restore creation to himself in Christ.
We as the Bride, together with the Spirit, cry out “Come Lord Jesus, come.”
Come and end the exile.