What would happen if we lost the ability to practice our faith in freedom? What if “church as usual,” like public services and church programs were no longer an option? What would be left of our faith practice?
That’s what happens in this next part of the Story. God’s people are taken into exile into Babylon, away from the temple, the priesthood, and the religious practices that defined their lives. Babylon sought to train them, tame them, and rename them. God’s people are submerged in a culture that is seeks to subvert their true identity and purpose.
One recent theologian contends, “The experience that faced the Jewish exiles mirrors the church’s experience today. In fact, the biblical metaphor that best suits our current times and faith situation is that of exile. Just like the Jewish exiles, the church is grieving its loss and is struggling…”
Our time and place may be different, but the tension of living “in, but not of” lives in a bent and broken culture, requires extraordinary courage from ordinary, modern-day exiles.