Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Undoing Exile... Dare We Pray?

Micah 4:6-7, “’In that day,’ declares the Lord, ‘I will gather the lame; I will assemble the exiles and those I have brought to grief.  I will make the lame my remnant, those driven away a strong nation” (NIV).

Again, from the book:  Illuminate, An Advent Experience, this is what I read, this morning: “Jesus teaches the importance of prayer in the midst of our brokenness… We are invited to hope in God and continue to pray with complete trust that God will transform us and our relationships” (Sheneman, 19).

Broken relationships are difficult, perhaps especially so during the holidays.  While I don’t think it would be responsible to equate the very real, physical exile of whole people groups from their native homes with the exile we feel in our hearts, caused by broken relationship; I do think there are some parallels we might draw, regarding our interaction with others.  In every way, when we have the opportunity and ability to restore right relationships, we should do so.

I fully recognize wide scale, systemic exile might be beyond the scope of what most of us can hope to repair.  We could, however, begin with our own families and then allow the effects to spread to our neighbors… our communities… strangers…  Because, let’s be real, brokenness can be found everywhere.

There are some key things that should be noted:

Prayer is messy.  It’s not a magical wish list that we hope might somehow be delivered to us, wrapped in shiny paper, topped with a beautiful bow.  That’s the other Christmas story.  Prayer most often incites transformation, and that transformation begins with us!  So if you’re going to pray, you might want to consider whether or not you actually want to change.  That’s the first part.

But I’m also looking at this Scripture and thinking about the odd language used… the idea that God brought people to grief and is now gathering them in.  If I’m honest, I don’t know exactly where to go with this, but I do know that I have, at least at times, brought people to grief, and the thought of humbling myself in order to now assemble them is overwhelming!  How might I do this?  How might we do this (goodness, it’s always easier in community)?  Who are the people I/we have exiled, and how can I/we now make it right?  These inquiries require pondering, because I do not know the answers!

Dare we pray?  I feel like it might be dangerous…  (#ButLessFearAndAllThat)


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