As the Apostle Peter wrote to the churches in what is now Western Turkey, he referred to the followers of Jesus as exiles: those who are not living in their true home. This idea accurately describes anyone who has decided to place their true citizenship and home in the Kingdom of God.
But just because we are called to live lives following the values of the Kingdom of God, separated from the world, this does not mean that we are called to remove ourselves from it. On the contrary, God consistently shows His love and care for the world throughout the story of the Bible, and ultimately was moved by His love for the world to send His Son to die that those who believe in Him could have the chance to live with Him forever. He calls us to be an example to the world of His love and care for it, just as Jesus was an example of God’s love for us.
At Grafted we want to build in a rhythm of loving and serving others into our monthly routines. We want to follow the example and commands of our King, Jesus, to love people, even if it is hard for us. If we don’t practice the habit of service, the muscle memory for continuing that habit when life is difficult won’t be there. This is one of the reasons why we devote one Sunday a month to serving somewhere outside of the community of Grafted. We serve because it changes us.
We also serve because in doing so we are seeking the welfare of the city in which we live. The prophet Jeremiah was told to deliver these words to the people of Israel while they were in exile:
4 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 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. 7 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 29:4-7
For those of us who are currently in exile, living in a place that is not our home, we want to follow in the footsteps of those who have gone before us, following the words of God. We want to work for the peace and prosperity of the cities we live in to help it prosper.
If you would like to join in a Service Sunday at Grafted Community Church contact Pastor Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org for details about where we will be serving this month!