Recently, I learned of a fantastic devotional app called Lectio365, developed by the founders of the 24/7 Prayer Movement. I can’t recommend it enough. Each ten-minute daily meditation creates tender space to listen to scripture and respond in surrendered prayer. The timely theme this week has been focusing on the biblical metaphor of exile and the content that follows is taken from Monday’s meditation.

In Psalm 137:1-4, it says this of the Israelites, who had lost their homeland, their traditions, their community, their everything:
By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down,Yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion…For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying:Sing us one of your songs of Zion. How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land? The Israelites are sitting along the river mourning as they share memories of home. They are overwhelmed with sorrow, and their heavy hearts make it difficult to worship. They weep because of a deep, dark ache of loss and isolation. How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land? 

This resonates so deeply with me because 2020 has also been a year of loss… Loss of jobs, classes, security, safety, familiarity, routines, rhythms, gatherings, and community… Loss of the people we loved to the Covid-19 virus. Loss of freedom – feeling like a season of captivity. We have experienced loneliness, isolation, and physical touch.

What does it mean to sing the Lord’s song in this strange land? For me, it means intentionally looking for the beauty in each new day… thanking God for the good gifts He has given us… finding new freedoms and rhythms to replace the old… seeking creative modes of connecting with those I love… allowing myself grace and permission to feel sad or disappointed at the loss faced… trusting that this will not last forever and that God is still in control.

What does it mean for Calvin Crest to sing the Lord’s song in this strange land? It means we continue to steward the resources and land God has given us, trusting the day is coming for the fullness of His work to resume… we pray faithfully and watch for new movements of the Spirit that might lead us forward… we explore new ideas that we never had the time or space to explore before… we invite our community to come away in silence and solitude to connect with the God of Advent on whom we wait… we open our doors to families to commemorate together the passing of this year and the start of a new one… we seek to encourage, uplift, and point people to the God who loves them… we plan with eager expectation of how God will transform lives in 2021.

What does it mean for you to sing the Lord’s song in this strange land? If it’s likely we will never return to “normal,” is it possible that this season of captivity could become a birthplace of new, unexpected freedom? What is God’s invitation to you? Let us sing together the Lord’s song in this strange land…

But as for me, I will sing about your power.Each morning, I will sing with joy about your unfailing love.For you have been my refuge, a place of safety when I am in distress.O my Strength, to you I sing praises, for You, O God, are my refuge, the God who shows me unfailing love. Psalm 59:16-17

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