City Life

Psalm 79; Micah 4:6-13; Revelation 18:1-10

 

Micah 4:6-13:“You shall go to Babylon. There you shall be rescued, there the Lord will redeem you from the hands of your enemies.

Revelation 18:1-10: Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her (Babylon), my people, so that you do not take part in her sins, and so that you do not share in her plagues.”

 

Babylon was a beautiful city, but its many charms were lost on the Jewish exiles brought there in 586b.c. They were prisoners of war, forced from their home land, and no golden city could ease their sorrow. But it is from this city of famous hanging gardens that the Lord will redeem them. It is here, surrounded by architectural wonder and living among cultured captors, that God will come for them.

In a vision of the end of all things, a voice from heaven calls the faithful out of the new Babylon – Rome. Redemption can’t be found in the city, all that’s there is a quagmire of human greed, abuse, and power.

How can anyone hear God’s voice when the pulse of the city changes the very beating of the human heart? It’s too easy to ignore God’s call because life in the fast-paced city is so very captivating. And that’s the point: it’s captures the human heart so completely that it is easy to forget who created all things. Everything centers on city life, not on God – it’s worshipping the cosmopolitan lifestyle rather than God. The old-fashioned word for that? Idolatry.

So what are we to make of it all? Is the city where God comes for us, or is it temptation incarnate? It depends on where our souls reside. Are we at home only with God, or do we belong to the city wholeheartedly? Jesus wasn’t born in a palace, and he didn’t live an uptown life. He wept for Jerusalem not because it was evil, but because so many sold their souls to its life. God’s presence is in every human dwelling, so enjoy the beauty and variety Babylon offers. Just don’t mistake it for your permanent home or your heart’s desire.

Come, Lord Jesus, Come.

Offered on December 2, 2014

 

Published by

Johnna

I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

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