The Christian church in the United States is living in a kind of exile: after centuries of enjoying social, cultural, and political power and influence, the church increasingly finds itself alienated from the centers of power that it once took for granted. Some see this as a crisis and seek a return to the center of American society. But the biblical record—full of experiences of exile—commends a very different approach. Using the book of 1 Peter, and in conversation with Daniel, Esther, and Jonah, this series explores what a creative, constructive, faithful response to our modern exile might look like for the church today.
The Church in Exile
Sunday, February 21, 2021
After the people of God suffer dislocation and exile at the hands of Babylon in the 6th century BCE, exile becomes an important controlling metaphor for how they understand their collective life in a challenging world, even long after they return to their homeland. For the Christian church today, exile remains a useful lens through which to view the challenges of faithful witness in a fast-changing world.
Sunday, February 28, 2021
Part of what it means to be an exile is to navigate the persistent challenge of delineating between “us” and “them.” Exiles hold their distinctiveness in tension with their participation in society, and going too far in either direction can compromise Christian identity and damage Christian witness.
Sunday, March 7, 2021
From the time of Israel's entrance into the Promised Land until the destruction of Jerusalem and beginning of their exile, their identity as a people was tied to place: the Land, the Holy City (Jerusalem), and the Temple. The loss of home and the experience of exile, however, forced Israel to rediscover its identity as no longer rooted in a particular place, but rooted instead in their covenant relationship with God.
Free & Honorable
Sunday, March 14, 2021
How to bear faithful witness in the world to the good news of God's kingdom depends to a great extent on where the church finds itself. Exiles face a unique set of constraints and challenges as they seek to live faithfully. Following the example of Daniel and heeding the words of 1 Peter, the church today can find wise guidance for how to shape our lives in ways that honor others and yet hold fast to the freedom that is ours in Christ.
Ready to Answer
Sunday, March 21, 2021
Exiles who are called to a distinctive way of life are also instructed to be prepared to answer for their distinctiveness—to make a defense of their hope. In a world so often characterized by thin and misplaced hopes, our readiness as the church to declare our unique hope is critical to our witness and essential to faithfulness.
Stewards of Grace
Sunday, March 28, 2021
At the end of the day, the life of a Christian exile is oriented in a very particular direction: toward the world. In the story of Jonah and some of the closing remarks of 1 Peter, this orientation becomes inescapably clear.