Woven throughout the Old Testament is the theme of exile.
We are given example on example of individuals in exile, of a people in exile, of a community in exile. The why, where, and how of exile are detailed in Ezra, Nehemiah, the Prophets and more.
Exile and return.
It is the prophet Jeremiah who speaks practical words into the life of the displaced, the life of the exile. He gives instructions that I would sometimes like to forget, dismiss, say they are unimportant.
But the instruction is there and it is good.
Instruction to build houses and live in them.
Instruction to plant gardens, to settle down.
Instruction to get married, have kids.
Instruction to seek the welfare of the city in which you now live.
There have been times when I have been displaced, feeling as though in exile, and it has taken me a long time to act on this instruction. The instruction doesn’t say the exiled won’t feel longing, the instruction doesn’t promise full integration.
But it gives instruction to do these things despite a longing for another place, another time.
Today I enter into life feeling exiled. I have once again experienced a world beyond and I am basking in the beauty of that time. For a few moments my world was warm and full of color. For a brief time I experienced the chaos that comforts me, the sounds and smells that declare I am home. But today? Today I am back at my official address with my official passport. I’d love to wax wise about how the notion that my passport identifies my “home” is absurd, about how what you see on the outside is rarely what makes up the inside – but I don’t have the energy and besides, you can read other posts where I’ve done just that.
If I could paraphrase Jeremiah’s instruction for today, Monday, as I am reeling in displaced chaos I would say “Live in the land, do good, bake muffins.” So I offer up a prayer for the day:
“Show me how to live in the land and do good and as you show me, help me to make really good muffins.”
It is a prayer for the day, the hour, the minute.
“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” Jeremiah 29:4-8
Today’s Muffins look amazing! The recipe is for Browned Butter Pecan Banana Muffins. How Stacy finds these is beyond me but I thank her for them. Either click here or on the picture to go to the recipe and thank you Stacy!