Collect: Lord, this is a day we give you thanks and praise for your
majesty as it is revealed in the world around us, as well as it is in
the faces who return our smile this morning. Grant us your vision
as we seek to fulfil your will for our lives as individuals, and as the
church you consider precious, a pearl of great price.
We proclaim your name Holy and your Spirit just. Amen.
From the desk of the minister: Seek the welfare of the city
The Old Testament reading from Jeremiah today is an encouragement from
the prophet Jeremiah to the people of Israel. They have been taken out of their
beloved homeland and now they are in exiled in Babylon. He sent them this
letter to make them feel at home. Jeremiah asked them to seek the welfare of
the city in which they lived as foreigners. They are to live as God’s faithful
people, no matter what the context. He said to them, you must “build houses
and live in them .. plant gardens .. take wives and have sons and daughters”.
In other words, make the best of the situation where you live.
Despite their exile in this new land, God is still watching and caring for his
people. The Hebrew word underneath the word “welfare” is the well-known
word, shalom. “Seek the shalom of the city where I have sent you into exile.”
Shalom is a deeper word. It means not only peace, but also wholeness,
and healing, and freedom. This is the shalom that Jeremiah is wishing for
the people in Babylon. It is really important for us who hear this story,
that we also seek the shalom of God to be our guidance in our everyday lives.
The voice of God is coming to us through Jeremiah. During our exile and the
difficulties of life, Jesus is there with us. In Moltmann’s Book called the
Crucified God, he talks about us and in the midst of our suffering, God is
crucified with us. God is suffering with us. If we feel the pain of this life,
there is always good news, God also suffers with us and He comes to bring
us his shalom so that we can have peace in our heart, mind and soul.
Grace and Peace, Rev Maile