A Message from Rev. Christopher Ryan
Jeremiah 29:1, 7 (NRSV)
These are the words of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the remaining elders among the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.
…Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
Jewish and Christian history, as described in the Hebrew and Christian Scripture, speak to life in exile. Exile was a repeated reality for our Jewish forbearers and the letters of Paul are written to a Church in exile, scattered throughout the Roman Empire. In this condition, the community in exile is faced with a choice as to how it will relate to the host community. There are a number of possibilities – distinct and hostile, distinct and isolated, distinct and cooperative, varying degrees of assimilation to include melting away, being fully absorbed and disappearing as a culture or society.
In both the Hebrew and Christian tradition, we are encouraged to remain distinct while being supportive of the community in which we find ourselves. Likewise, we are encouraged to invite and receive support.
Trinity is possessed of a distinct character amongst her sister Churches and, as a Christian Church, is distinct from other community associations, service clubs and charitable organizations that may share our hopes and ideals but are not faith-based. All of us together find in Smiths Falls a host community with which and in which we have opportunities to cooperate and share our gifts with a view to seeking the welfare of the whole community. In its welfare, we find our own.
This Thanksgiving, let us be found faithful in our prayers for Smiths Falls. Let us celebrate those associations and community groups in which we find common ground. Let us pray for their well-being and seek new ways to reach out, to offer and receive mutual support.