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40 Day Journey in Lent - April 8

April 8—Jeremiah 29:7—Bob Keefer

“But 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.”

Many of our spiritual songs are about a heavenly home, and suggest that we are exiles here on earth. And it often feels like it, when we compare the values of the Kingdom of God to the values we live with here. God measures the worth of things by how much they contribute to well-being; we measure their worth with a price tag. God sees the grandeur of a city in its commitment to a just life for all; we see it in the height of its buildings.

But Jeremiah reminds us that we should not scorn the city or waste too much time and energy yearning for our “home far away,” as one of those songs says. Rather, pray for the city and seek its welfare, he says. And not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because “in its welfare you will find your welfare.”

If we shut ourselves in our own homes and do not seek the welfare of our neighborhoods, how long will our own homes be good places to be? And if we hide in our church building, and do not commit ourselves to the welfare of Omaha and all its peoples, how long will there be a church on this hill?

Our personal welfare and the welfare of our Church are intertwined with the welfare of Omaha. God has said so.

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