Psalm 37 says we are not to fret because of evildoers, but surely we Christians in this age are tempted to do so. What is our response to a world which seems daily more bent on selfish destruction? How do we tolerate the present age?
Recognizing two thousand years of our religion’s history may encourage us. A sense of not belonging because of our Christian worldview is not unusual. Christians have been a remnant, a voice crying in the wilderness, more often than not.
Without worshiping power or assimilating the ways of the world, we can listen to the people around us and engage in dialog. We can listen to what they are saying and attempt to understand their fears in a world that seems to have no meaning for them. We don’t have to shout; neither should we pass by on the other side like two men in the parable of the Good Samaritan, before the compassionate one came along.
After the Jews were taken into exile, some assimilated, but a remnant remained and grew and learned. The exile remade the Jewish nation. They understood that their exile came because they did not follow God’s way as they were called to do. We Christians, too, suffer from self-inflicted wounds. We have followed our pagan neighbors into a consumer world that worships materialism and power.
As the Jews did, we can learn and grow and serve in our current exile.
Ann Gaylia O'Barr, author of Singing in Babylon, Searching for Home, Quiet Deceptionand Distant Thunder (all OakTara), was a Foreign Service Officer in the United States Department of State from 1990 to 2004. Assignments included tours in U.S. embassies and consulates in Saudi Arabia (Jeddah and Dhahran), Algeria, Canada, Tunisia, and Washington, D.C. (Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration and Bureau of Intelligence and Research).