Series: Defining Reality: The Church in Exile (Sanctuary)
DEFINING REALITY: THE CHURCH IN EXILE
There is an emerging conviction that the situation of the contemporary church may be similar to that of ancient Israel or the early church in their respective, and distinctive focus on exile. Exile implies much more than simple geographical dislocation; it can be a cultural and spiritual condition as well. It is the experience of knowing that we are aliens where the dominant values run counter to our own. Exile is, its very essence, living away from home. This is at the heart of the Christian faith as we live away from our ultimate and eternal home. Furthermore, exile is a result of understanding ourselves as strangers in the world. This distinction is defined by our relationship with the Lord and is rooted in God’s call for us to live our lives abiding in Him, often in ways that come in conflict with the dominant culture. This sense of exile is experienced by anyone who feels alienated, cast adrift or marginalized by their inability or unwillingness to conform to the tyranny of the majority. Exile is the perilous territory of not belonging.
Our corporate teaching goal is to offer a biblically informed reflection on who we are and how an exilic understanding can open to us the life-giving gifts of God’s Word and Spirit essential for renewal and transformation.
The way forward is to look around and understand our context, to look back and gather the resources our sacred history offers us, and then to look forward with a clear vision of how we ought and can function as the people of God in contemporary exile. The adventure continues. Will you join us?
(adapted from Lee Beech, The Church in Exile)