“Get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed.”
I’ve been reflecting on this Abraham Joshua Heschel quote for the past week, and it continues to haunt me with its beauty and wisdom.
This past Sunday, I preached from Jeremiah 29 about the life we called to live in exile. In a world—then and now—where the temptation is to complain, blame, and ultimately check out of really living, the invitation from Jeremiah and God is to put down even deeper roots, faithfully embed ourselves within our exiled existence, and really live. When we find ourselves as outsiders or outcasts, different than the world in which we live, the calling isn’t to wait it out until things get better, but to live deeply and faithfully in the here and now, partnering with God in bringing about the hopeful future He has in store.
As God says to the Israelites then, he says to us now, as well:
“Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” (Jeremiah 29:5-7)
The prophets, Jeremiah and Heschel, are essentially saying the same things, each inviting us to a renewed presence and awareness in our lives. Be here. Notice the world. Take nothing for granted. Wake up to the wonders around you. Approach your existence with a general sense of curiously and awe.
I find myself inspired, by each of these speakers-of-truth, to a new sort of faithfulness amid this Covid Exile—committed to being a presence of blessing through intentional faithfulness. Together let’s work for the peace and flourishing of our community, partnering with God in the redemption and restoration of our world. Let’s not check out of really living just because life has gotten tricky. Let’s use this opportunity to be the presence of Christ for our friends, enemies, neighbors, and world.